2019 Scudder Oration on Trauma
Col. Edward Churchill, MD, warned us that the valuable lessons learned in war are forgotten during times of peace and as a result soldiers lose life and limb when the next conflict begins. This decay in military knowledge is referred to as the "Walker Dip." Over the past 20 years, the U.S. military developed a comprehensive joint trauma system that encompassed multiple treatment facilities on three continents and saved the lives of thousands of warfighters. As we stand on the threshold of another Walker Dip, will these valuable lessons once again be lost? "A Perfect Storm," or more politically correct, a "Punctuated Equilibrium" can result in rapid policy change when there is a convergence of interest groups, policy makers, and an opportunity window. This opportunity window was realized by leaders at the ACS, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the Department of Defense with the creation of the Military Health System Strategic Partnership with the American College of Surgeons (MHSSPACS). The main goal of the MHSSPACS is to ensure preparedness of the Combat Casualty Care Team (CCCT) through the Clinical Readiness Program.
The Clinical Readiness Program is comprised of four components:
This program provides great benefit to our nation as a whole by enhancing our response to disasters, providing access to trauma care for 45 million additional people living in the U.S., accelerating translation of battlefield knowledge into civilian care, and modeling a novel method of assuring surgical competency.
Senator Tammy Duckworth made a video appearance during this Scudder Address to thank the surgical community for the care that was rendered to her after her helicopter was shot down in Iraq and to encourage support for the MISSION ZERO Act that will fund MCP. As we withdraw the last troops from Afghanistan, will we succumb once again to the Walker Drip or will we change history through partnerships that assure a continuously prepared military medical force? Those who volunteer to protect our country deserve nothing less than our best.