60 Minutes Covers the "Golden Hour"


chopper60minutes.jpgIt's no secret that the military's trauma units have saved the lives of thousands of injured service members and Iraqi civilians whose wounds would likely have killed them in earlier conflicts.But last night, 60 Minutes ran a powerful 13 minute piece on the doctors, nurses and medics who operate in theater and on the field helicopters. The Hueys UH-60 Blackhawks are stationed around Iraq so that no casualty is more than 25 minutes from a helicopter, helping to ensure that injured soldiers are treated in a hospital within 60 minutes, known as the "Golden Hour."The piece focuses on two American soliders, Kenny Lyon and Brad Fulks. Lyon was hit by a mortar while fixing his vehicle, and lost half his blood through three severed arteries before arriving the Air Force theater hospital on the Balad Air Base north of Baghdad.Fulks was hit by a roadside bomb, which burned the skin over half his body and destroyed one of his lungs.The Balad Air Base trauma center sees 300 trauma cases a month, but sends many via C-17s transformed into airborne medical centers to Germany. In the Vietnam war, it took an average of 40 days to get wounded soldiers back to the States; in the Iraq war, it now averages three days.You can read a transcript of the piece here, but I highly recommend watching the video, even if you already know the extraordinary efforts of the military's trauma teams.- Ryan Singel

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