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Wartime Injuries and Their Effects on Soldiers

Wartime Injuries and Their Effects on Soldiers

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Published by papori35
WARTIME INJURIES AND THEIR EFFECTS ON SOLDIERS: A HUMANITARIAN PERSPECTIVE Wars are as old as civilization. The nature of weapons has progressed from the Stone Age club to the modern day arsenal of Nuclear and biological weapons. What remains unchanged is the brutality of Man and his greed for resources, fame and glory. But this quest leads to devastating consequences for him and his family, affecting everyone on its trail. What is an armed conflict? The soldiers are sent to fight in wars or may
WARTIME INJURIES AND THEIR EFFECTS ON SOLDIERS: A HUMANITARIAN PERSPECTIVE Wars are as old as civilization. The nature of weapons has progressed from the Stone Age club to the modern day arsenal of Nuclear and biological weapons. What remains unchanged is the brutality of Man and his greed for resources, fame and glory. But this quest leads to devastating consequences for him and his family, affecting everyone on its trail. What is an armed conflict? The soldiers are sent to fight in wars or may

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Published by: papori35 on Nov 05, 2012
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WARTIME INJURIES AND THEIR EFFECTS ON SOLDIERS: A HUMANITARIANPERSPECTIVEWars are as old as civilization. The nature of weapons has progressed from the Stone Age club tothe modern day arsenal of Nuclear and biological weapons. What remains unchanged is thebrutality of Man and his greed for resources, fame and glory. But this quest leads to devastatingconsequences for him and his family, affecting everyone on its trail.What is an armed conflict?The soldiers are sent to fight in
wars or may be deployed in crushing certain ‗armed conflicts‘ in
disturbed areas. The I.C.R.C.commentary to Common Article 2 of The Four Geneva
Conventions 1949, which refers to the notion of ‗armed conflict‘ in international armed conflicts,
states as follows:
 It remains to ascertain what is meant by armed conflict. The substitution of this much
more general expression for the word ‘war’ was deliberate. One may argue almost endlesslyabout the legal definition of ‘war’. A state can always pretend, whe
n it commits a hostile act against another state that it is not making a war, but merely engaging in legitimate self-defence.
The expression ‘armed conflict’ makes such arguments less easy. Any difference arising between
two states and leading to the intervention of armed forces is an armed conflict within themeaning of Article 2, even if one of the parties denies the existence of a state of war. It makes nodifference how long the conflict lasts, or how much slaughter takes place. The respect due tohuman personality is not measured by the number of victims
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.The armed conflict may be in the form of an international or non-international armed conflict.Common Article 3 covers armed conflict within the territory of a state and if the followingcriteria are met:
 
Hostilities by force of arms;
 
Deployment of armed forces by the government(instead of police only);
 
Collective character of hostilities on the insurgents‘ side, with at least a minimum
degree of organization and a responsible command capable of discharging humanitarianobligations.
 
When the raging flames of the wars and armed conflicts grip the countries, the soldiers are sentto fight and restore peace. They sustain a lot of injuries as combatants. Normally these injuriessuffered by the soldiers can be classified into two categories:(1) Physical injuries, and(2) Mental illnessesThe physical injuries borne by the soldiers could be of many kinds. A report on vascular surgery,obtained from compiling and analyzing the database of injuries of all US military casualties fromDecember 2001 through March 2004 in Iraq and Afghanistan, revealed that out of 3057 soldiers,1524 (50%) sustained battle injuries. In those patients which comprised the study group the usualor suspected vascular injuries occurred in 107 (7%) patients.
 
Sixty-eight (64%) patients werewounded by explosive devices, 27(25%) were wounded by gunshots, and 12 (11%) experiencedblunt traumatic injuries.The majority of these injuries (59/66 [88%]) occurred in the extremities.
 
Twenty-eight (26%)required additional operative intervention on arrival in the United States. The vascular injurieswere associated with bony fracture in 37% of soldiers.
 
Twenty-one of the 107 had a primaryamputation performed before evacuation.
 
Amputation after vascular repair
 
occurred in 8 patients.Of those, 5 had mangled extremities associated with contaminated wounds and infected grafts
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.Besides, a study conducted by the American Back Society has revealed that the soldiers servingin Iraq and Afghanistan often complained of severe back pain and had dismal rates of returningto duty. In addition, the study revealed that the wartime illnesses and injuries often have nothingto do with bullets, grenades, or other explosive devices. On the other hand disease and non-battlerelated injuries continued to be the major source of service member attrition. The study pointedout that musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders were the most common reason forleaving the war zones, accounting for 24% of evacuation. They were followed by combatinjuries (14%), and neurologic disorders (10%). A similarly poor return to work rate applies tosoldiers with other illnesses and injuries as well. In 2007 only 1 in 5 soldiers evacuated fromwar zones ever returned to active duty. While illnesses were associated with a particularly lowreturn to duty rate including psychiatric disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, and spinal pain inparticular along with combat injuries. The major risk factors for the persistence of back and neck 
 
pain and disability related to these complaints are psychosocial, including anxiety, depression,poor coping skills, and low level of job satisfaction
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.The emotional distress suffered by the soldiers was equally responsible for their doomed livesalong wi
th the physical injuries. A common wound of the Iraq war was the ‗traumatic braininjury‘, also known as the ‗signature wound‘ of the Iraq war. Those who were diagnosed with it
often received treatment when it was too late: TBI (traumatic brain injury) remains as one of the
most frequent causes of death and disability in today‘s battlefield. According to the Defense and
Veterans Brain Injury Center, a research and treatment agency run by the Pentagon and VeteransAffairs Department, 64 percent of injured troops have suffered brain injuries.Health Systems in war time and their effect on the soldiers deployed
As per the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) definition, health can be defined as ‗
a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or 
infirmity’ 
. In other words the impact of war and violence (a general term covering conflict,economic violence such as sanctions, and experience of dictatorship) must be measured not onlyby death and injuries due to weaponry, but by the often greater longer-term suffering linked withdamage to essential infrastructure, a poorly functioning health system and the failure of relief and reconstruction efforts.A health system has been defined as
all activities whose primary purpose is to promote, restoreor maintain health
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. A breakdown of the essential infrastructure and an interacting range of otherhealth determinants have lead to a hugely increased burden of death and mental and physicalillness from all causes, directly and indirectly attributable to the effects of conflict.The impact of conflict on the health of both the civilians and the combatants generally arisesboth from the direct effects of combat
 – 
battle deaths and injuries
 – 
and from indirectconsequences that continue to be felt years after the conflict ends. In Iraq for example theconflict has taken the shape of daily attacks on the lives of both civilians and combatants andattacks by occupying forces. The immediate effects of the conflict on physical and mental healthwere only a miniscule proportion of the suffering; the long term effects would lead to healthbeing harmed by conflict-related damage to essential health-sustaining infrastructure and to the

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