Golden Hour Decision Saves Lives in Afghanistan

Golden Hour Decision Saves Lives in Afghanistan

October, 2014

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

As readers know, I have been advocating faster and better rescue of crash victims since the early 1990s.  See and

Now a study of military policies and practices ordered by DOD Secretary Gates in 2009 shows the importance of optimal care for the injured.

The NY Times reports:

“WASHINGTON — As the Pentagon prepared to send tens of thousands of additional American forces to Afghanistan in 2009, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates became concerned that the rugged terrain and vast distances of the war zone were keeping wounded troops from reaching hospital care within 60 minutes. This is the so-called golden hour, which combat medical experts deem vital to survival.

Despite protests from the military, Mr. Gates ordered more helicopters to Afghanistan to evacuate troops wounded by gunfire, grenades and roadside bombs. He directed that helicopters previously set aside for rescuing downed pilots be reassigned to medical evacuation, because not a single fighter jet or bomber had been shot down in the war. Mr. Gates also increased the number of field hospitals.

The initiatives appear to have succeeded. A peer-reviewed medical study published online on Wednesday reports that the secretary’s orders saved an estimated 359 lives from June 2009 to March 2014, with important lessons today for the military and the Pentagon bureaucracy.”

Please see NY Times article at

The medical Journal article is attached.

If only President Obama and NHTSA Administrators had acted with similar focus on saving lives of crash victims here in America, many more tragedies could have been prevented. Lou


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