Support: May 28, 2002

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Medical units in Afghanistan are finding that they have to reorganize for a new kind of war. In traditional conflicts, you usually know where, and when, the heaviest fighting was going to be and could set up your field hospitals and deploy your medical people accordingly. Afghanistan is proving to be quite different, with fewer casualties, but the possibility of them happening unexpectedly over a wide area. The solution would be more, but smaller, field hospitals, spread over a wider area. The main function of these hospitals is to act like a civilian hospital emergency room. Lightly wounded soldiers can be treated and sent back into action (as often happened in wartime) or off to rest for a few days and weeks before going back to work. More badly wounded troops are stabilized so they can be evacuated to better equipped hospitals where more complex and extensive procedures are available. The special forces are keen on having more, smaller, field hospitals, as they know that medical care for the local people is a great way to generate good will (and good leads on where the bad guys are.) Save the life of an Afghan's wife or kid, and he feels he owes you.

 


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