Showing posts with label OAFME. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OAFME. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

AFIP's Armed Forces Medical Examiner featured on Fresh Air

Slain Soldiers Offer Clues To Protect The Living

Fresh Air from WHYY, June 24, 2009 · In previous wars, fallen soldiers rarely received post-mortem examinations, but that changed in 2001, when the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology began conducting autopsies on all slain service men and women. In 2004, the examinations were expanded to include CT scans.

CT Scans help show the pathway of wounds caused by bullets or shrapnel so that a less invasive autopsy can be conducted. While this improves the work of doctors, the data has a grim upside.

Captain Craig T. Mallak, a pathologist and lawyer who is also the chief of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, describes how the physical and sometimes virtual autopsies of soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan have not only assisted in the design of body armor, helmets and vehicle shields, but medical equipment as well.

One specific example is the recent improvement of chest tubes used buy combat medics. By examining 100 Ct Scans and measuring wounds, doctors found that because soldiers were in better shape than civilians, they needed longer tubes and needles to penetrate the chest wall and reach the collapsed lung.

Combat medics now carry the improved equipment on the battlefield.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Body armor article noted in passing

This article raised a few thoughts about the Museum and the Pathology Institute - "Contracts for Body Armor Filled Without Initial Tests: Inspections Skipped in 13 Of 28 Deals, Report Finds," By Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, April 3, 2008; Page D01.

"Why?" you say.

Don't worry, we're not producing armor. However over the years, the AFIP has helped evaluate armor. We've got hundreds of pictures of used (unfortunately) body armor from the Korean War in the Archives, and several actual pieces on display now on the Museum floor. Also, the AFIP currently runs the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner which is responsible for investigating military deaths and performs autopsies that can suggest the protection that the armor did or did not afford.

And we've got a really cool piece of armor from the Civil War that didn't work at all. It's got a bullet hole right through the breastplate. Whoops. (It's not on display now, but there is a photo of it in the lobby).