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A soldier is helped onto a US Army medical evacuation helicopter in Southern Afghanistan. Brennan Linsley/AP/Press Association Images via PA Images
US Troops

Majority of injured US troops not wounded in combat

A report from the Pentagon reveals that the majority of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq suffered injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder, sprains and mood disorders.

A REPORT INTO medical evacuations of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq has revealed that the majority of patients were not wounded in combat.

The Pentagon’s Medical Surveillance monthly report from the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center shows that between 2001 and October 1 2010, 62,087 of the 2 million Americans serving in the war zones were evacuated for medical care.

Of that figure, 11,711 (18.9%) were wounded in combat as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom(OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) in Iraq and Operating Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan.

Medical evacuations of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq are reserved for only the most seriously wounded or sick.

During the surveillance period, four categories of illnesses and injuries accounted for just over half of all evacuations. These included musculoskeletal disorders; non-battle injuries, like sprains and fractures; “mental disorders,” such as adjustment reactions and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); and “signs, symptoms and ill-defined conditions”.

The most frequent reasons for male troops to be evacuated were battle injuries,  musculoskeletal disorders, and non-battle injuries.

The most frequent reasons for females were mental disorders, “signs, symptoms, and ill-defined conditions”, musculoskeletal disorders, and non-battle injuries.

Among both males and females, “adjustment reaction” was the most frequent specific diagnosis during initial medical encounters after evacuations.

Among OIF/OND participants in Iraq, the proportion of  medical evacuations because of what were termed “mental disorders” sharply increased from 7.2% in 2003 to 22.0% in 2010.

The increase in the relative proportion of medical evacuations due to mental disorders among OIF/OND participants was most apparent among females.

Read more at the Time magazine blog Swampland.>