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Defence

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

Armed Forces: Injuries

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel have sustained (a) damage to, (b) partial loss and (c) total loss of (i) upper and (ii) lower limbs in (A) Afghanistan and (B) Iraq in each of the last 36 months; what proportion of such injuries in each category became infected; and if he will make a statement.

[Official Report, 2 November 2009, Vol. 498, c. 643W.]

Letter of correction from Mr. Kevan Jones:

An error has been identified in the written answer given to the hon. Member for Castle Point (Bob Spink) on 2 November 2009.

The correct answer should have been: (290859)

[holding answer 9 September 2009]: The following gives the numbers of surviving UK service personnel whose injuries included those coded as a traumatic or surgical amputation, partial or complete, for either upper or lower limbs between 1 April 2006 and 30 September 2009 as a result of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. This injury code covers injuries ranging from the loss of part of a finger or toe up to the loss of an entire limb or limbs. To indicate the number with severe multiple limb injuries, those classified as “significant multiple amputees” have suffered limb amputations above the wrist or ankle on more than one limb; in other words, they have lost at least two hands or feet. Note that there were no significant multiple amputees arising from operations in Iraq in this period.

AfghanistanIraq

Period

Partial or complete limb amputees

of which, significant multiple amputees

Partial or complete limb amputees

April to December 2006

7

1

5

January to December 2007

14

1

10

January to December 2008

27

6

1

January to September 2009

32

13

0

1 Signifies a number less than five, inserted to protect patient confidentiality.

More detailed information covering all limb injuries and infections is not held centrally, and would require investigation of the reports of all field hospitals and other deployed medical facilities for the last three years. Full information could be retrieved only by obtaining permission from individual patients to interrogate their medical records, which would entail disproportionate cost.