Medical innovations that once were novelties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become commonplace on the battlefield as the conflicts continue, and so has evidence that the recent advancements are saving lives.
Rare is the severely injured Soldier or Marine who arrives at a military hospital in Iraq today without having been treated with one of the Pentagon's newest blood-clotting dressings-either QuikClot, a granular substance favored by the Marine Corps, or HemCon, a bandage developed by the Army and made from a derivative of shrimp shells. The services have largely abandoned their disagreements over which product is best, and both dressings are now in wide circulation among combat troops and first responders. The dressings' manufacturers, meanwhile, have continued to improve their formulas and configurations to match requirements on the battlefield.
And whereas doctors reported casualtics two and three years ago who bled to death for lack of a tourniquet, today modern nylon tourniquets are ubiquitous in Iraq, and casualties routinely arrive at hospitals and aid stations wearing us many as four.