Army Surgeon General: Amputations Up During Afghan War

Army photo: Staff Sgt. Marcus J. Quarterman

Since the 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan, the number of U.S. troops who have had amputations has nearly doubled as a result of mines and roadside-bombs, according to an Army surgeon general report released Tuesday.

Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker commissioned the 87-page report, examining dismounted complex blast injuries. The injury pattern affects soldiers on foot patrol, a counterinsurgency strategy.

The injury pattern involves traumatic amputation of one leg, at least a severe injury to the other leg, and wounds to any or all of the pelvis, abdomen and genitals.

So far this year, 147 troops have had an amputation. At current pace, that number would exceed any year since the war in Afghanistan began. There were 86 amputations in 2009 and 187 in 2010.

In many cases, soldiers agreed not to help each other survive if one of their comrades suffered from a DCBI injury, the report said.

“To some, the resultant burden on their family and loved ones seemed too much to accept, and, anecdotally, some actually developed ‘do not resuscitate’ pacts with their battle buddies in the event of this type of injury,” the report said.

The number of soldiers killed in action has dropped over the past eight years, primarily because of protective equipment and armored vehicles.

Click here to read the full surgeon general report.

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