In a Scranton Journal story about how military surgeons rediscover and refine treatments from the past while saving lives on the battlefield, Donald Jenkins, MD, and Daniel Grabo, MD, talk about the concept of “damage-control surgery” conducted in austere environments.
While deployed in Oman and treating severely injured soldiers who needed blood transfusions, Dr. Jenkins had to tap the only immediate source–fresh whole blood from other soldiers–instead of stored blood components, as has been used for decades. “Trauma victims given two units of whole blood, as opposed to the typical 12 of processed blood, gained their health back more quickly,” he discovered. When Jenkins returned to practice in civilian trauma centers, he brought this lesson home to share with his fellow surgeons.
The resurgent use of whole blood and tourniquets are examples of how wartime necessities bring past wisdom to light. Thanks to Jenkins’ work, the younger Grabo and his colleagues reach for these treatments as standard protocols.
Jenkins and Grabo are both alumni of the University of Scranton and both are recipients of medical service awards: Jenkins received the American Legion’s Distinguished Service Medal and Grabo received the Romanian Medal of Honor for his efforts to save the lives of Romanian soldiers injured in Afghanistan.