Injuries affect all Americans.
They are the leading cause of death for children and adults from age 1 to 44 in the United States.
At the scene of an injury, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) professionals must identify the severity and type of injury, and determine which hospital or other facility would be the most appropriate to meet the needs of the patient. This is done through a process called “field triage.”
The profound importance of daily on-scene triage decisions made by EMS professionals is reinforced by CDC-supported research that shows that the overall risk of death was 25 percent lower when care was provided at a Level I trauma center than when it was provided at a non-trauma center.
Not all injured patients can or should be transported to a Level I trauma center. Other hospitals can effectively meet the needs of patients with less severe injuries, and may be closer to the scene. Transporting all injured patients to Level I centers—regardless of injury severity—limits the availability of Level I trauma center for those patients who really need the level of care provided at those facilities. Proper field triage ensures that patients are transported to the most appropriate healthcare facility that best matches their level of need.
In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published guidance on the field triage process in “Guidelines for Field Triage of Injured Patients, Recommendations of the National Expert Panel on Field Triage” in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
he updated Guidelines, published in the newly released MMWR reflect the results of the Panel’s deliberations and include changes made upon the best available evidence, and incorporate the experiential base that CDC has developed through its close work with states, national organizations, communities, and individual professionals.
The 2011 Guidelines for the Field Triage of the Injured Patient initiative is developed to give EMS leaders and professionals the tools they need to implement and adopt the 2011 Guidelines.