Rangers lead the way against combat deaths

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Soldiers treat a simulated casualty during the Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga., earlier this year. (U.S. Army photo)

The 75th Ranger Regiment has all but eliminated “preventable” combat deaths, according to a new report in the Archives of Surgery that was based on data collected since 2001.

“The military has advanced combat casualty care absolutely tremendously,” said Dr. Donald Trunkey, a trauma surgeon at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, told Reuters. “Quite frankly, the Rangers are the lead group, they are at the point of the spear.”

The report credits the 75th Ranger Regiment’s casualty response system designed to minimize combat-related deaths.

Medical skills have been drilled into all personnel, not just medics. Lt. Col. Dr. Russ Kotwal told Reuters the hope was that this approach, which is still not widespread in the Army, would limit three common but preventable causes of combat deaths: blood loss from an extremity, lung collapse and airway obstruction.

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