Lessons from the frontline: why the experiences of soldiers in the Vietnam War made doctors rethink how they treat severe trauma wounds.
- During the Vietnam War, emergency blood transfusions given to wounded soldiers proved fatal.
- The body has an in-built repair system which activates when blood vessels are damaged.
- Platelets in the blood stick to the torn vessels, and plasma creates fibrin strands to form a plug or clot.
- Blood pressure drops to allow the clot to form a dam-like barrier - before returning to a normal level.
Sometimes, our understanding of how the body works and how doctors should treat it comes from surprising places.
What happened to wounded soldiers treated in the Vietnam war during the 1960s revealed just how important the body's own defences are.
And made doctors rethink how they treat people with severe trauma.