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Pediatric Neurosurgical Care in a German Field Hospital in Afghanistan
06 March 2015
14 September 2015
21 December 2015 (online)
Background and Study Objectives Children are commonly found among the injured in war settings. Prognosis often depends on the presence of brain injury. Not all neurosurgery departments of German Armed Forces hospitals, however, have experience in the care of children with neurosurgical conditions. Against this background, we assessed the group of pediatric neurosurgical patients in a German (Role 3) field hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan.
Patients/Materials and Methods We analyzed the operative logbooks from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2013, to assess the number of neurosurgical procedures that were performed on children (< 18 years of age) at the field hospital of Mazar-e-Sharif.
Results During the study period, 327 neurosurgical procedures were performed at the German field hospital. Of these, 29 (9%) were performed on children. The mean age of the pediatric patients (7 girls and 22 boys) was 11.7 years (median age: 12 years; range: 5–17 years). Only three procedures were performed for conditions other than trauma. Pediatric patients accounted for almost 10% of all patients who underwent neurosurgery during a recent military deployment in Mazar-e-Sharif. This percentage is similar to those reported by other nations. These findings show that a considerable number of children underwent neurosurgical treatment.
Conclusions Military planners should be aware that Role 3 medical treatment facilities must provide care for pediatric emergencies and must therefore be staffed and equipped accordingly. For military hospitals at home, this means that the management of pediatric patients is an opportunity for medical personnel to receive important pediatric training that enables them to provide care to children in deployed medical facilities.
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