On October 12, 2000, the destroyer USS Cole was anchored in a foreign port and was severely damaged by explosives in a small craft adjacent to the ship at the port side waterline. Seventeen crew members were killed in the incident. The wounded were evacuated to several medical facilities for their initial care and then to the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, and subsequently to the Charette Health Care Center (Naval Medical Center) in Portsmouth, Virginia. There were 35 surviving patients who had sustained 81 total injuries associated with the explosion. The distribution of the injuries included orthopedic, ophthalmologic, soft tissue, otolaryngologic, burns, inhalation, and other miscellaneous injuries. Twenty-seven of the patients were discharged after 24-hour observation. This article reviews the distribution of injuries found in the fatalities and the wounded crew members and the subsequent care required to prepare the military medical community for potential future incidents of this type.
From the Trauma Division (T.P.D.), General Surgery (T.P.D., M.L.S., W.A.L.), Critical Care Medicine (T.P.D.), Orthopedic Surgery (E.W.L., R.B.S.), Ophthalmology (B.A.A.), and Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery (J.L.), Charette Health Care Center, United States Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia.
Submitted for publication October 18, 2001.
Accepted for publication August 20, 2003.
This article has been reviewed and cleared for publication by the Navy Legal Office at the Charette Health Care Center, Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia, and by the U.S. Navy, Surface Fleet Atlantic, Medical Department. There is no financial interest in this article for any of the authors and no funding outside of the United States Government was received. The views reflected in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view or policy of the United States Navy or the United States Department of Defense.
Address for reprints: CDR Thomas P. Davis, MC(SW), USNR, FACS, General Surgery Department, 0511 Charette Health Care Center, United States Naval Medical Center, 27 Effingham Street, Portsmouth, VA 23708; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.