Historically, at least through the Korean War, primitive initial battlefield treatment measures, delays and inefficiencies of transport, and nonavailability of effective drugs and resuscitative equipment limited the application of clinical wartime experience to civilian medicine. Vietnam, however, provided a wealth of data that can be effectively used in improving modern battlefield medicine as well as in managing civilians with traumatic injuries. This results from the absence of front lines and variation from the traditional chain of evacuation in Southeast Asia. Helicopter operations in Vietnam were revolutionary, and often patients arrived at a definitive care facility in less than an hour.
Retired Brigadier General Hardaway begins his book with a review of the approach to battlefield shock from World War I through Vietnam, describing the rapid and sophisticated resuscitative measures used in Southeast Asia. He gives an overview of the medical care system as it existed in Vietnam early in the