Monday, April 05, 2010

On Distant Battlefields, Survival Odds Rise Sharply

You might wonder why I'm sending around an article about treating battlefield injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan – the reason is that I think the U.S. educational system can learn a great deal from the U.S. military.  Both are among the largest government systems in the world, with millions of employees, yet one is dismal, trailing most other developed countries, while the other is HIGHLY effective.  It's remarkable to see how the military learns the lessons from the front lines and spreads the learning rapidly – something that doesn't happen at all in education.  Perhaps this is because people die quickly if the military doesn't learn and adapt, whereas the carnage from our failing educational system isn't as visible and directly attributable (it's so easy to blame the victims, after all):

The military's nerve center for innovations is the Joint Theater Trauma System, set up by the Defense Department in San Antonio, Texas. It analyzes statistics on battlefield injuries to see what treatments are working. A research article from the trauma center was one reason tourniquets were issued en masse in October 2008, after a study suggested that mortality rates could be reduced dramatically if soldiers could strap on a tourniquet before arriving at the hospital.

Many new life-saving ideas come from the field, in hospitals like the shabby plywood-and-fabric one on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military base at Kandahar airport.


  • APRIL 2, 2010

On Distant Battlefields, Survival Odds Rise Sharply


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