The Military Surgical Legacy of Vladimir Oppel (1872-1932)
ARMY INST OF SURGICAL RESEARCH FORT SAM HOUSTON TX
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Vladimir A. Oppel 1872-1932 was a forefather of military trauma systems. As a surgeon in the Russian Army in World War I, Oppel experienced the challenges and inefficiencies associated with caring for large numbers of combat wounded, the inefficiencies he observed leading to unacceptable morbidity and mortality. As a consequence, Oppel envisioned a coordinated sequence of surgical care on the battlefield and developed the concept of targeted evacuation. In his work, Oppelwas among the first to propose the right operation for the right patient at the right location at the right time. Central to Oppel s precepts were 1 the forward positioning of surgical care close to the point of injury, 2 the development of a reserve of proficient and deployable military surgeons, and 3 the provision of specialized surgery to optimize survival and reduce morbidity. Oppel s teachings were validated during World War II in the performance of the Soviet casualty evacuation system and in all modern wars modern since. Today, nearly 100 years after the work of Vladimir Oppel, the benefits of a coordinated or targeted trauma system, working to optimize survival after trauma, are well recognized around the world.
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