Objective: To describe the treatment of children at an expeditionary military hospital in wartime Iraq.
Design: Descriptive, retrospective study.
Setting: The 332nd Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq, January 1, 2004, to May 31, 2005.
Patients: All 85 children (of 1626 total patients) evaluated and treated at the hospital during the study period.
Interventions: Indicated surgical procedures performed on children.
Main outcome measures: Age, sex, diagnosis, injury, operations, and complications for children during the study period.
Results: The 85 children (age range, 1 day to 17 years; mean, 8 years) represented 5.2% of all patients. Thirty-four (61%) of the 56 children for whom sex was recorded were male. Injury was the diagnosis for 48 children (56%). Of these, the cause was fragmentation wound in 25 children (52%), penetrating trauma in 11 (23%), burn in 9 (19%), and blunt trauma in 3 (6%). The site of injury was the lower extremity in 18 children (38%), head in 11 (23%), upper extremity in 8 (17%), abdomen in 8 (17%), and chest in 3 (6%). Nontraumatic conditions had congenital, infectious, gastrointestinal, and neoplastic causes. During the study, 134 operations were performed on 63 children. There were 5 deaths.
Conclusions: Expeditionary military hospitals will encounter both injured and noninjured children seeking medical care. To optimize the care of these children, it will be necessary to provide the proper personnel, training, and equipment.