Time is a killer on the battlefield when troops are wounded, but the Pentagon is betting that “hibernation” drugs being pioneered by an Australian researcher will mitigate that problem.
Dr. Geoffrey Dobson of Queensland’s James Cook University and the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine hopes that through science they can essentially rewire the body’s natural response to trauma so that deployed troops have enough time to get their injured comrades medical attention.
“During the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 87 percent of all deaths among allied soldiers occurred in the first 30 minutes, before they could get to a hospital,” Dr. Dobson told an Australian news website Wednesday. “Nearly a quarter of these, almost a thousand people, were classified as having potentially survivable wounds. Time was the killer. The idea of our research is to save that thousand lives.”
The goal is to change the human body’s normal response to shock while also forcing it to provide enough blood pressure to vital organs to keep wounded individuals alive.
“You want to stabilize the system because of the long retrieval times in forward areas for these special operations soldiers,” he said. “We increase the blood pressure to a low ‘optimal’ level sufficient for survival, we reduce inflammation and we correct the blood coagulation — stop it getting thinner.”
The Pentagon, impressed with the results of Dr. Dobson’s initial research, has granted his team $550,000 to perfect his treatment. He hopes to have the experimental drugs ready within a year.
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