Military surgeons have gained familiarity and experience with mass casualty events (MCEs) as a matter of routine over the course of the last two conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over the same period of time, civilian surgeons have increasingly faced complex MCEs on the home front. Our objective is to summarize and adapt these combat surgery lessons to enhance civilian surgeon preparedness for complex MCEs on the home front. The authors describe the unique lessons learned from combat surgery over the course of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and adapt these lessons to enhance civilian surgical readiness for a MCE on the home front. Military Damage Control Surgery (mDCS) combines the established concept of clinical DCS (cDCS) with key combat situational awareness factors that enable surgeons to optimally care for multiple, complex patients, from multiple simultaneous events, with limited resources. These additional considerations involve the surgeon's role of care within the deployed trauma system and the battlefield effects. The proposed new concept of mass casualty DCS (mcDCS) similarly combines cDCS decisions with key factors of situational awareness for civilian surgeons faced with complex MCEs to optimize outcomes. The additional considerations for a civilian MCE include the surgeon's role of care within the regional trauma system and the incident effects. Adapting institutionalized lessons from combat surgery to civilian surgical colleagues will enhance national preparedness for complex MCEs on the home front.
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