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UCLA doctors help military get ready for war wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan


Doctors from the UCLA Medical School, in cooperation with the Department of Defense, have developed training videos to get military doctors ready for the serious blast-injury wounds inflicted on U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The videos include graphic scenes of wounded personnel being treated at the military hospital in Balad, Iraq. DVDs with the footage, and enough text to fill a 712-page book, are being distributed at military training sites and hospitals in forward locations.

The video was unveiled at a conference in August attended by hundreds of military medical personnel.

"Often, pre-deployment training is dependent on PowerPoint presentations and handouts," said Air Force Lt. Col. Todd Rasmussen, a vascular surgeon and deputy commander of the Army Institute of Surgical Research who served as co-chairman of the conference.

"But this multimedia content takes it to a whole new level," he said.

Robert Foster, who guided the project through the sometimes-difficult federal funding process, said he is pleased that the videos are ensuring that medical advances by military doctors in the two war zones are being recorded and used to teach others.

"They're doing some very creative stuff, along with saving lives," said Foster, who recently retired from the Department of Defense.

Dr. Eric Savitsky, the UCLA doctor who served as the lead editor on the project, said he wanted to make sure that military doctors are prepared for wounds much more serious than the knife and gunshot wounds they've seen in urban trauma hospitals.

"I've been doing trauma work for 15 years," Savitsky said. "If I see one blast injury a year, it's a lot. These guys will see them every day."

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: A wounded soldier being evacuated from the battlefield. Credit: UCLA / Pelagique LLC

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