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Trauma Doctors Often Implement Military Procedures to Save Lives

DAVIS -- The mass shooting in Las Vegas has been described as a war zone, not only with the chaos but with the numerous gunshot wounds suffered by hundreds of victims.

The gunman's room was filled with modified long guns not unlike weapons used on the battlefield.

Oddly enough the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have taught emergency room personnel lots about how to treat gunshot wounds.

"Hemorrhage is the number one cause of death for these patients, it's the same on the battlefield ... we learned from 12 years of conflict in Afghanistan the most effective and efficient ways of resuscitating patients who are bleeding," said Dr. Joseph Galante, Chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.

Galante spent 11 years as a Navy doctor who served in field hospitals in Afghanistan.

He says gunshot victims who suffered massive blood loss were once put on saline solutions...battlefield experience now dictates something else.

"Not filling you up with salt solution but giving you back blood cells, platelets and the plasma that you lost," Galante said.

The doctor goes on to say medical teams do damage control surgery for the first few days.

"Meaning they are stopping bleeding , fixing up holes, saving lives," Galante said.

Only then will there be more surgery to repair muscles, organs and broken bones.

Depending on the injuries long periods of physical therapy may be ahead along with the specter of continual pain.

War time treatment has shown that post traumatic stress disorders may loom as well.

"Patients sitting there with a lot of time on their hands have time to reflect back on the incidents in which they've undergone," Galante explains.

Galante was recently briefed on lessons learned from the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando last year when a gunman shot 49 people to death and injured 51.

Integrating military procedures and the latest domestic shootings will all help with the treatment and recovery of the Las Vegas shooting survivors.