The Dash to MASH

By Scott LaFee

November 4, 2015 3 min read

Among practitioners of emergency medicine, the first hour after trauma is most critical. Treatment within 60 minutes of severe injury is often the difference between life and death. Nowhere is that fact more starkly evident than on the battlefield, report researchers at Texas A&M University, who say a military mandate in 2009 to get wounded personnel treatment in the first hour has resulted in thousands of saved lives.

The study analyzed battlefield data for more than 21,000 military casualties during U.S. involvement in Afghanistan between September 11, 2001 to March 31, 2014, comparing outcomes before and after the June 15, 2009 mandate.

Before the mandate, median time to transport a wounded service member was 90 minutes; after, it dropped to 43 minutes. Cutting median transport time in half also cut the fatality rate nearly as much, from 13.7 to 7.6 percent.

Body of Knowledge

The human body has 45 miles of nerves.

Life in Big Macs

One hour of sitting or singing in church burns 102 calories (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 0.1 Big Macs. Squirming burns more.


52 — The percentage of smartphone users who gather health-related information on their phones

Source: Research2Guidance

Doc Talk

Anhidrosis — the abnormal absence of sweat

Phobia of the Week

Agyrophobia — fear of streets or crossing the street

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating speed-eating record for peas is 9.5 one-pound bowls in 12 minutes, held by Eric Booker. Warning: Most of these records are held by professional eaters; the rest by people who really should find something better to do.

Best Medicine

Scientists have just discovered the gene for shyness. They said they would have found it earlier, but it was hiding behind a couple of other genes.


"Neurotic means he is not as sensible as I am, and psychotic means he's even worse than my brother-in-law."

— American psychiatrist Karl Menninger (1893-1990)

Medical History

This week in 1846, Benjamin F. Palmer of Meredith, New Hampshire debuted a newly invented artificial leg, which featured a pliable joint containing tendons of gut and springs that worked noiselessly and preserved its contour in all positions. It wasn't the first artificial leg, but it was the first to be patented in the U.S.

Curtain Calls

In 2005 a 28-year-old South Korean named Lee Seung Seop collapsed from fatigue and died after playing the videogame StarCraft for almost 50 straight hours.

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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