Monday, September 06, 2004

August toll in Iraq high

"About 1,100 U.S. soldiers and Marines were wounded in Iraq during August," reports the Washington Post, "by far the highest combat injury toll for any month since the war began and an indication of the intensity of battles flaring in urban areas."

Proportionately, however, the death toll for August did not rise in accordance with the number of injuries, a pattern that had been relatively consistent until this past month.

Despite this, the Post reports rather ominously that there were

indications that troops might have suffered more severe wounds in August than in previous months.

At the Baghdad hospital, staff members are accustomed to seeing the most severely injured soldiers and Marines. The hospital, the only one in Iraq where the military's brain and eye surgeons work, handles the worst head wounds. Normally, perhaps half the patients who come to the emergency room qualify as "acute" cases, a term that indicates severity and urgency.

"A soldier who comes in and is almost bleeding to death will require more care than someone who is just shot with a bullet," Beitz explained.

In August, however, the rate of acute cases jumped to three of four ER patients.
That's a high ratio. And as we know, such wounds tend to have far reaching consequences that don't get much coverage in the media.