Col. Rasmussen to Speak about Combat Casualty Care at Medical Museum Science Café

By Daniel Daglis
National Museum of Health and Medicine

The National Museum of Health and Medicine has hundreds of artifacts on display that take visitors on a journey through the history of military medicine. As visitors walk from gallery to gallery, they can see just how far military medicine has come through innovations that have also contributed to civilian medicine.

On Tuesday, May 24, at 6 p.m., U.S. Air Force Col. Todd Rasmussen, director of the Department of Defense Combat Casualty Care Research Program (CCCRP) headquartered in Frederick, Maryland, will share how the CCCRP optimizes the survival and recovery of U.S. service members in current and future operational scenarios, with a focus on treating bleeding control and traumatic brain injury.

Col. Rasmussen, a decorated vascular surgeon, will review the evolution of U.S. battlefield medicine and how warfighter care has developed over the decades. One concept that combat care specialists on the battlefield adhere to is the concept of the "Golden Hour."

"The 'Golden Hour' exists to give battlefield medical providers a specific target for providing medical care to U.S. warfighters," says Rasmussen. "It is the time period in which medical care in such situations has been determined to be the most beneficial for injured personnel. The concept is based on movement of the injured person to a fixed location or echelon of care within 60 minutes."

Focus and the ability to function under extreme circumstances are only the basic tools needed by a combat medic. In addition to the use of tourniquets to stop the bleeding of an injured soldier, Rasmussen says, "different and varied uses of plasma and other blood products have also been pivotal for the CCCRP in this regard."

The CCCRP collects much of its data on-site using a Joint Combat Casualty Research Team. It has been found that the majority of wartime deaths occur in the out-of-hospital setting.

"The point of injury component of care is termed 'tactical combat casualty care.' During the past decade, this phase has been transformed to introduce and integrate elements of medical care with military tactics. Combat units are now trained in tactical combat casualty care, a strategy that has reduced preventable death.

Rasmussen will also discuss products and innovations that have helped treat and prevent traumatic brain injuries, which are a major concern on the battlefield and can affect the soldier over a long-term basis. Many of these innovations, as well as examples of the effects of TBI can be viewed in the NMHM collections.

The work of the CCCRP is vital to the proper treatment of the injured soldier. The Science Café is a unique opportunity to learn about how these efforts are saving lives and protecting the men and women who serve this country in the U.S. military.

NMHM's Medical Museum Science Cafes are a regular series of informal talks that connect the mission of the Department of Defense museum with the public. NMHM was founded as the Army Medical Museum in 1862 and moved to its current location in Silver Spring, Maryland in 2012. NMHM is an element of the Defense Health Agency. For more information on upcoming events, please call 301-319-3303 or visit