BECAUSE of the clinical responsibilities of medical officers in a combat theater, complete postmortem examinations have seldom been routine. Pathologists are rarely available at the surgical hospital, and facilities for postmortem study are often discouraging. Although it is obvious that combat casualties die of wounds received in action, a clear insight into the mechanisms of death is often lacking.
During a 10-month period in 1952 and 1953, autopsies were routinely performed by the Surgical Research Team in Korea at the 46th Surgical Hospital on the Eastern Korean Front. Deaths resulting from wounds received in combat, vehicular accidents, burns, medical illnesses, and self-inflicted injuries were investigated.
This report deals only with 35 patients who died in the hospital after being wounded in combat. Analyses of the other traumatic deaths have been deleted in an effort to emphasize the problems encountered in treating the combat casualty. Because of the relatively small number