Outcomes of Emergency Department Wounds Managed by Combat Medics

Research Paper Title

Emergency Department Wounds Managed by Combat Medics: A Case Series.

Background

Combat medics are an integral part of their unit helping to conserve the fighting strength. Minor wounds are a common problem in the deployed settings that affect a soldier’s ability to partake in operations. While the medics often manage wound care, there is very little data on the outcomes.

Methods

Cases were acquired as part of a quality assurance project providing training feedback to medics on wound management. Laceration management is delegated to the medic at the direction of the provider. Follow-up included a series of short questions regarding wound outcomes: infection, revision, and cosmetic outcome (extremely satisfied = 1, unsatisfied = 5). Chart review was used when direct follow-up with the patient was not available for the remainder of the wounds.

Results

The project period was from May 2014 to June 2015. During this time there were 30 wound repairs documented. Direct contact follow-up was available for 57% of the encounters, the remainder was via chart review. The location of the wounds were as follows: facial 5, head/neck 0, upper extremity (excluding hand) 3, hand 16, lower extremity 5, and trunk 1. The average wound length was 2.98 cm (range, 0.8-8.0 cm). No wounds became infected. No wounds required revision. The average cosmetic rating was 1.8 (95% confidence interval = 1.48-2.12).

Conclusions

In this series of wounds closed by medics in the emergency department no complications or revisions were necessary. Further research is needed to determine if this can be extrapolated to other military settings.

Reference

Schauer, S.G. & Pfaff, J.A. (2017) Emergency Department Wounds Managed by Combat Medics: A Case Series. Military Medicine. 182(S1):353-354. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-16-00050.

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