Pre-hospital trauma care on the battlefield differs greatly than pre-hospital trauma care practiced in the private sector. The types and severity of injuries are different than those encountered in civilian settings and combat medical personnel face multiple additional challenges in caring for their wounded teammates in a tactical setting. They must provide care while under hostile fire, often working in the dark with multiple casualties and limited equipment. They must also often contend with prolonged evacuation times as well as the need for tactical maneuvering superimposed upon their efforts to render care.
In the mid-1990s, a Special Operations medical research project was undertaken with the goal of improving the survivability of combat trauma injuries by improving the kind of care rendered on the battlefield. This research effort developed a new concept called Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) and proposed a set of pre-hospital trauma care guidelines that were customized for use on the battlefield. This effort was focused on the most common historical causes of preventable death in combat.
The TCCC guidelines were quickly adopted by the Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) community, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and later by a few other military units. With increasing reports of success from units using the techniques advocated by TCCC, this new approach to battlefield trauma care began to spread throughout the US military.
The tri-service Committee on TCCC (CoTCCC) was begun in 2001 to ensure that emerging technology and information is incorporated into the TCCC guidelines on an ongoing basis. The membership of the CoTCCC includes combat medics, Corpsmen, and PJs as well as physicians and physician assistants. The Committee is a standing multi-service committee charged with monitoring medical developments in regards to practice, technology, pharmacology and doctrine. New concepts in hemorrhage control, airway management, fluid resuscitation, analgesia, antibiotics and other lifesaving techniques are important steps in providing the best possible care for our Marines and Sailors in combat.
The primary intent of TCCC is to reduce preventable combat death through a means that allows a unit to complete its mission while providing the best possible care for casualties.