The Hospital Trauma Team: A Model for Trauma Management

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A triage system was established as the initiating mechanism for a trauma team response to assist the assessment and early management of patients presenting to an accident and emergency department. A checklist of triage criteria was used. During a 6-month period, 342 patients (29.7% of trauma admissions) satisfied the triage criteria, which should have resulted in an average of 1.9 trauma team calls per day. Staff compliance with the triage tool was 75.4%. The overtriage rate for the checklist criteria was 52.7%. The triage tool identified patients with severe injuries who were not initially considered sufficiently injured to justify initiation of the trauma team response. The sensitivity of the triage tool in identifying patients with serious injury was 95.0%. Comparison of the review with a similar review performed 12 months earlier demonstrated that staff compliance with initiating the trauma team response had improved. Using data from 564 patients from both series, logistic regression analysis of the power of the triage criteria to predict serious injury contributed to a revision of the triage criteria.This trauma triage tool and trauma team response constitute a valid approach to the early hospital management of trauma patients. This system may be more appropriate or achievable in many hospitals than the construction of dedicated trauma reception units or permanent surgical staffing of general Accident and Emergency departments.

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