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Earthquakes and Trauma: Review of Triage and Injury-Specific, Immediate Care

  • Oliver P. Gautschi (a1) (a2), Dieter Cadosch (a2), Gunesh Rajan (a3) and René Zellweger (a2)


Earthquakes present a major threat to mankind. Increasing knowledge about geophysical interactions, progressing architectural technology, and improved disaster management algorithms have rendered modern populations less susceptible to earthquakes. Nevertheless, the mass casualties resulting from earthquakes in Great Kanto (Japan), Ancash (Peru), Tangshan (China), Guatemala, Armenia, and Izmit (Turkey) or the recent earthquakes in Bhuj (India), Bam (Iran), Sumatra (Indonesia) and Kashmir (Pakistan) indicate the devastating effect earthquakes can have on both individual and population health. Appropriate preparation and implementation of crisis management algorithms are of utmost importance to ensure a large-scale medical-aid response is readily available following a devastating event. In particular, efficient triage is vital to optimize the use of limited medical resources and to effectively mobilize these resources so as to maximize patient salvage. However, the main priorities of disaster rescue teams are the rescue and provision of emergency care for physical trauma. Furthermore, the establishment of transport evacuation corridors, a feature often neglected, is essential in order to provide the casualties with a chance for survival. The optimal management of victims under such settings is discussed, addressing injuries of the body and psyche by means of simple diagnostic and therapeutic procedures globally applicable and available.


Corresponding author

Department of Neurosurgery Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen, Rorschacher Strasse 95 9007 St. Gallen, Switzerland E-mail:


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Earthquakes and Trauma: Review of Triage and Injury-Specific, Immediate Care

  • Oliver P. Gautschi (a1) (a2), Dieter Cadosch (a2), Gunesh Rajan (a3) and René Zellweger (a2)


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