Nonmilitary Personnel Have More Non-War-Related Injuries

However, they are more likely than military personnel to return to duty after recovering from such injuries

FRIDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- Nonmilitary personnel are more likely than military personnel to be medically evacuated for non-war-related injuries, but they are also more likely to return to duty after recovering from non-war-related injuries, according to research published online Feb. 14 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Steven P. Cohen, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues analyzed data on 2,155 medically evacuated nonmilitary personnel to examine the differences in injury type and return to duty between this group and military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. They compared their data on nonmilitary personnel with previously published data on military personnel.

The researchers found that 74.7 percent of nonmilitary personnel did not return to duty after evacuation for injury. Only 25.6 percent of this group's evacuations were due to war-related injuries. Although nonmilitary personnel were less likely than military personnel to return to duty after evacuation for war-related injury (4.4 versus 5.9 percent), they were more likely to return after non-war-related injuries (32.5 versus 30.7 percent). The diagnoses related to the highest return-to-duty rates among nonmilitary personnel were psychiatric diagnoses (15.6 percent) in those with war-related injuries, and noncardiac chest or abdominal pain (44 percent) in those with non-war-related injuries.

"Because nonmilitary members are expected to play an increasingly prominent role in future military operations, recognizing the types of medical conditions they experience may be useful in implementing preventive measures and treatment strategies," the authors conclude.

The lead author disclosed receiving payment for expert testimony in a lawsuit defending the U.S. Department of Defense.

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