Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook Updated

11.20.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The United States Special Operations Command has published a newly updated handbook for use by special operations forces medics in the field.

“It emphasizes acute care in all its forms (including gynecology, general medicine, dentistry, poisonings, infestations, parasitic infections, acute infections, hyper and hypothermia, high altitude, aerospace, dive medicine, and sanitation.)”

The document, which is not yet available in soft copy, replaces a 2001 edition (large pdf) and may be purchased from the Government Printing Office Bookstore.

An earlier Army special forces medical handbook (large pdf) dated 1982 and obtained by Secrecy News is now “a relic of sentimental and historical interest only,” wrote Dr. Warner Anderson, a U.S. Army Colonel (ret.) and former associate dean of the Special Warfare Medical Group.  It advocates “treatments that, if used by today’s medics, would result in disciplinary measures,” he told us last year.  These include such unlikely remedies as drinking kerosene, eating cigarettes, and using live maggots to consume rotting tissue.

Slightly related is this report from the Congressional Research Service on “Military Medical Care: Questions and Answers” (pdf), updated October 31, 2008.