Burn Centers Hopping
June 18, 2005 10:51 PM   Subscribe

Burn Centers A Hot Potato The San Antonio burn center is possibly the busiest in the nation. It's not because of poor building design in the local area. Are troop fatalities in Iraq more substantial than we are told?
posted by mk1gti (22 comments total)
It's hard to believe anything we are told anymore.

we do what we're told
told to do

one doubt
one voice
one war
one truth
one dream

We Do What We're Told
by Peter Gabriel
from the Album So (1986)

posted by Doohickie at 11:13 PM on June 18, 2005

Well, I'd say that troop casualties in Iraq may be "more substantial than we are told," because I doubt that the government is fudging fatality numbers.

And the casualty argument is weak, because we'd need to know what number the government is reporting (not in the linked story), and we'd need something a little more substantial than a sample of one night: In peacetime, most patients are civilians, but on one recent night, 28 of 33 patients at the center were service members....

It looks like the burn center is busy with combat wounds, but the allegation of a coverup seems (from what you've linked) rather ill-supported.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:34 PM on June 18, 2005

posted by Satapher at 2:22 AM on June 19, 2005

Where's Hawkeye and B.J. when you need them? I'll admit that I'm largely ignorant of matters relating to combat medicine, but couldn't t they find burn centers a lot closer to the front than San Antonio?

By the way, this post gets my nomination for this year's Non-Sequitur Until You Read The Link award.
posted by JHarris at 5:25 AM on June 19, 2005

If you believe what the goverrnment tells you, boy, I'd give my life savings to live that blissful dream.
posted by fleener at 6:31 AM on June 19, 2005

There was an excellent article on this in the New England Journal of Medicine [there were some graphic pics last time i looked]. The soldiers receive quite a bit of medical care, in stages, before they make it back to the states.

Two CSHs with four sites now exist in Iraq. These are 248-bed hospitals with six operating tables, some specialty surgery services, and radiology and laboratory facilities. Mobile hospitals, too, they arrive in modular units by air, tractor-trailer, or ship and can be fully functional in 24 to 48 hours. Even at the CSH level, the goal is not necessarily definitive repair. The maximal length of stay is intended to be three days. The policy is to transfer any American soldier who requires more to a level IV hospital — one was established in Kuwait, one in Rota, Spain, and one in Landstuhl, Germany. If expected to require more than 30 days of treatment, wounded soldiers are to be transferred home, mainly to Walter Reed or to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. (Iraqi prisoners and civilians, on the other hand, receive all their care in Iraq.)
posted by srboisvert at 6:50 AM on June 19, 2005

Paging mk1gti....

What's the deal with "troop fatalities in Iraq more substantial than we are told?" I read the article, and I don't understand why you raise the (presumably rhetorical) question.
posted by alumshubby at 7:45 AM on June 19, 2005

...and "troop fatalities...more substantial than we are told"? Not accusing, just wondering.
posted by alumshubby at 8:06 AM on June 19, 2005

Troop fatalities in Iraq from war wounds amount to one in eight dying.

That is supposed to be bad? You need to read the NEJM article (or your own link) to put fatality rates into context. 1 in 8 is incredibly good given the nature of the conflict and the fact that advances in body and vehicle armor mean that wounds when they are occur are very serious..

Your framing sucks...[and I am very strongly antiwar]. It looks to me like the medical personnel are doing a spectacular job, while in harms way, keeping those poor kids alive. Followup care on the other hand...

separating out incidental injuries and illness from combat injuries seems more honest and accurate than lumping them in.

There is plenty of outrage to be had without trying to manufacture it.
posted by srboisvert at 8:58 AM on June 19, 2005

Reading the write-up, I figured there would be more about the fact that Iraq "fatalities" only count soldiers who die on Irqi soil, excluding anybody who dies at Walter Reed or the San Antonio Burn Center or anyplace else.

(For that matter the official number of dead does not include contractors, but that's another story.)
posted by ilsa at 10:02 AM on June 19, 2005

I figured there would be more about the fact that...

You mean speculation. Read the article. It is a guess not a fact.
posted by srboisvert at 10:56 AM on June 19, 2005

That's quite a provocative link ilsa. Have there been any further sources for that? It seems like such an explosive charge (and wouldn't be that hard to verify, dead soldiers are hard to hide), that I'm a bit skeptical. Any further information either way would be appreciated.
posted by dopeypanda at 12:07 PM on June 19, 2005

MLIS, those are excellent links, worth of a FPP. Thanks.
posted by Rothko at 12:12 PM on June 19, 2005

horrendously busy--ugh.

And they say we used Napalm there too: US lied to Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war

i think some deaths are classified as combat deaths, but many many aren't.
posted by amberglow at 1:03 PM on June 19, 2005

But in particular, are deaths in German and US hospitals (and in transit) from combat injuries classified as combat deaths? Because if not, that seems like a huge news story.
posted by dopeypanda at 1:08 PM on June 19, 2005

I don't think so, dopey--they've been trying to make sure the numbers stay low, so anything they can classify another way, will be.

That 1700+ number is a small fraction of our total deaths, you can be sure of it.
posted by amberglow at 1:52 PM on June 19, 2005

(Yes, I read the article. That's why I was surprised that there was no implication whatsoever of "Are troop fatalities in Iraq more substantial than we are told?" therein. It is a big leap from 'at any time there may be 30 burn patients' to potentially more fatalities. Unfortunately, the only sources I have seen are the ones cited in the link. So far, anyway. Somebody has to be the first to break the story I guess. It is worth noting that Amberglow's last link and comments seem to be circumstantial evidence.)
posted by ilsa at 3:35 PM on June 19, 2005

Apparently I am having a grumpy day ilsa. My apologies for implying you hadn't read the article. My big issue is that everyone seems to be taking every claim at face value today when they are backed by documents we can't see and administration sources who are unnamed.
posted by srboisvert at 8:10 PM on June 19, 2005

Just to correct the record, artanis found a pretty convincing debunking of the 7000 (or 9000) deaths.
posted by dopeypanda at 1:46 PM on June 26, 2005

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