Surgical management of Syria's war casualties: experience from a French surgical team deployed in the Zaatari refugee camp (Jordan)

Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2015 Apr;41(2):143-7. doi: 10.1007/s00068-014-0424-5. Epub 2014 Jun 21.


Purpose: In August 2012, the Zaatari refugee camp was opened in Jordan under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. France deployed there a surgical facility to treat victims of war trauma.

Methods: After a phase of intensive care and resuscitation, surgical management meeting the current standards of war surgery was conducted. Then, patients were transferred to a Jordanian civilian hospital or stayed in the Zaatari camp. A retrospective analysis of patient data was performed.

Results: From January to March 2013, 95 patients were managed: 85% of patients were male with a median age of 27 years (4-65); 5% of patients were <18 years of age. All patients were Syrian, civilian or members of the "Free Syrian Army." Penetrating trauma accounted for 95% of lesions. A total of 105 surgeries were performed, including: 33 external fixators, 8 laparotomies, 8 nerve repairs, 6 cover flaps, 4 direct arterial repairs, 2 reversed saphenous vein bypass grafts, and 1 amputation. The median length of stay on the wards was 3.71 days; 43% of patients were transferred to Jordanian civilian hospitals.

Conclusions: The presence at the Zaatari camp of a surgical facility, which is experienced and specialized in war surgery, is essential, as long as battles are ongoing. Many victims will later require long-term surgical care for the management of the sequelae associated with these traumas.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amputation, Surgical / mortality
  • Amputation, Surgical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Armed Conflicts*
  • Blast Injuries / mortality
  • Blast Injuries / therapy*
  • Emergency Treatment
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Hospitals, Military / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Jordan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Multiple Trauma / mortality
  • Multiple Trauma / therapy*
  • Refugees / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Syria / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Penetrating / mortality
  • Wounds, Penetrating / therapy*