Cooling the Flames of War

New technologies are put to imaginative use for wounded warriors at a burn center in Texas.

They’re trying some highly unusual technologies to heal America’s wounded warriors these days at places like Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Tex.

A case in point is Army Capt. Samuel Brown. He suffered severe burns when the Humvee conveying him and his soldiers to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan was blown apart back in 2008.

Next thing he knew, he was at the Brooke complex in San Antonio being cared for by the Institute for Surgical Research Burn Center – the only burn center operated by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Brown consented to some highly abnormal treatment, a kind of virtual-reality approach to managing pain that is known as “Snow World,” and he’s had more than 25 “operations” ever since. What he experiences, actually, is a frosty place of icy canyons and wooly mammoths wherein Brown and other burn victims cool their fiery pain via earphones, goggles, and visual distraction.

Such “virtual reality,” says Army Maj. Christopher Maani, chief anesthesiologist, “distracts them, takes away the signal for the pain.”

Learn more in the Army Times.

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