Emergency Blood Transfusions in Combat Theaters and Impact on HIV Testing Policy
DEFENSE HEALTH BOARD FALLS CHURCH VA FALLS CHURCH
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At the request of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Health Protection and Readiness, the Defense Health Board addressed concerns regarding blood transfusions under emergency protocol in combat theaters. Emergency protocol is defined here as the collection and transfusion of blood products not approved by the Food and Drug Administration FDA for the purpose of treating life-threatening traumatic injuries. Combat operations and terrorist events during OPERATION IRAQ FREEDOM OIF and OFERATION ENDURING FREEDOM OEF resulted in instances where blood product transfusions were required to meet the needs of physicians dealing with multiple and highly severe trauma cases among United States and coalition military service members. In a significant number of these instances, blood was collected under emergency protocol and transfused without complete testing, contrary to current Department of Defense DoD doctrine and FDA requirements. The Board was asked to review the issues associated with collection and transfusion of blood products under emergency conditions in a combat environment, and provide comments and recommendations regarding optimal strategies to minimize risk. After an initial briefing to the full Board in open session, the Board President referred this issue to subcommittee Board members.
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