Trauma Bay II, Balad, Iraq

Did you know?
Uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death on the battlefield. Increased use of tourniquets (discouraged in civilian practice) and hemostatic dressings, which clot the blood inside the wound, have saved the lives of many seriously wounded service members.

Many wounded soldiers sustain blast injuries that leave them in extreme pain. As a result, physicians developed a new generation of peripheral nerve blocks to discourage the transmission of pain signals.

A look at the numbers...

  • Only 5.3% of casualties die of their wounds while under medical care.
  • Between September 1, 2004 and December 1, 2005, 13,460 casualties were treated at or evacuated through Balad Theater Hospital, 3,096 (23%) with battle-related injuries.
  • On a given day, an average of 23 patients passed through the Emergency Department, 11 of which were trauma cases.
  • As of June 2008, 177 Purple Heart medals have been awarded to service members at Balad.

“The preservation of Bay II is a great tribute to all the Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines treated in that particular bay, as well as to the military medical community that provided such great life-saving work in that location,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Ullmann.

The Balad Theater Hospital, located at the center of the Iraq theater of the Global War on Terrorism, is only one part of a network of Battalion Aid Stations, Forward Surgical Teams and Combat Support Hospitals, working in conjunction with hospitals in Germany and the United States. All sick and wounded service members that require evacuation to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany pass through Balad. Bay II was the primary resuscitation bay and was often the first bay to receive the most critically-wounded patients.

"...Stabilize. Keep them alive. That is your job.”
- Dr. Robert Thaxton, USAF-MC
(credit:, published March 6, 2007.)

"It is not ‘MASH’, the television show ‘ER’ or a ‘busy Saturday night in the ER back home’."
Major Vikhyat Bebarta, USAF, MC

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