Military Health Systems: Designing for Polytrauma Wounded Warriors

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Thesis Abstract

Problem: The road to recovery can be a long and trying ordeal for polytrauma patients in the Military Health System. Current military hospitals rarely offer both the right expertise and the right facilities in the same place, requiring polytrauma patients to crisscross the country, thereby delaying recovery from their life-threatening injuries.

Motivation: Architects can serve our country by designing polytrauma facilities to better serve our wounded warriors.

Approach: The thesis applies research in evidence-based design and translational medicine to the design of a state-of-the-art polytrauma facility for a site on the campus of Walter Reade Medical Center. The three goals are: 1. Improve outcomes for polytrauma patients, 2. Support visiting family members, 3. Foster education of polytrauma physicians.

Results: The resulting design serves as a test for translating medical concepts into architectural form on a real site.

Impact: The thesis offers lessons for architects designing military polytrauma facilities, demonstrates to physicians how polytrauma facilities can be designed to serve their needs, and serves as a test case for future polytrauma facilities to be commissioned by the armed services.