MAJOR MATT HUEMAN: The golden hour is when the person has an injury . . .within the first two to five minutes there’s a certain number of people who will die that are not saveable. The next hour is where a lot of people, if they don’t get to a place that has surgical capability and the full gamut of taking care of them, will die as well. So the golden hour really reflects those people that are saveable if you’re able to get them to a place like a forward surgical team.
MAJOR BRYAN HELSEL: We provide 21st century intensive care, critical care for patients that would otherwise die. I mean there’s no way around, some of these people would have died.
CORCORAN: Too many soldiers wounded on Afghanistan’s remote battlefields were bleeding to death before reaching surgery at the big military hospitals. So last year, army surgical teams were moved much closer to the fight, to beat the golden hour. For those who make it here alive, often with horrific injuries, there’s now a 98% chance of survival. A young female solider pulled from the wreckage of the MRAP has multiple fractures. For her comrade, Sgt. Adam Sandifer, hit by the massive concussive blast, the injuries are less clear.
MAJOR MATT HUEMAN: We try and get the chest and pelvis within the first ten minutes with all the other things that we do like checking the airway, making sure that they’re breathing, making sure they have a pulse, getting an IV in, doing an ultrasound making sure that they don’t have blood in their abdomen.
CORCORAN: Matt Hueman and Bryan Helsel both served in Iraq. They’re well practised in treating IED victims – but this is a different war, with different injuries.
(TO HUEMAN) So even if they are travelling in the new armoured MRAP’s they still can suffer severe injuries?
MAJOR MATT HUEMAN: They can, and it’s deceptive because it tends to be internal injuries so you know in my last deployment, we would see amputations, significant like above the knee amputations with the Hummvees. In this deployment the leg still appears to be functionally intact, but it’s still a significant injury inside so it’s actually sometimes a little bit harder to figure out.