Persistent pain during long evacuations triggers post-injury stress and poor immune response, thus increasing the risk for complications. Efficient pain relief is therefore crucial in trauma care. For decades TMC and partners have used ketamine, a potent and safe drug for pain relief. However, when starting up the trauma training program in Vietnam TMC found that the national Vietnamese – as do most Western trauma protocols – recommend morphine for prehospital trauma care. This caused debate between experienced Cambodian care providers recommending ketamine – and the Vietnamese doctors. To solve the dispute the Ministry of Health conducted a comprehensive controlled clinical trial of prehospital ketamine treatment versus morphine for trauma victims in the Quang Tri province. Preliminary findings indicate that ketamine equals morphine in pain relief – and with far less dangerous side effects.
Our Vietnamese partner RENEW are now expanding the trauma model from the Quang Tri province to other areas close to the Laos border. This is done in collaboration with Ministry of Health, Hanoi, and with financial support from MFA, Norway.