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Primary Trauma Triage Performed by Bystanders: An Observation Study

  • Martin Nordberg (a1), Maaret Castrén (a2) and Veronica Lindström (a3)



The aim of this study was to evaluate whether bystanders with no training in triage can correctly prioritize three injured patients by using a triage instrument.


An observational study was conducted. Participants performed a primary triage on three paper-based patient cases and answered 11 questions during a public event in the center of Stockholm, Sweden.


A total of 69 persons participated in the study. The success rate among all the participants for correct triage of the three patient cases was 52 percent. The female participants and younger participants (<55 years of age) performed correct triage to a greater extent. The over-triage was 12.5 percent and under-triage was 6.3 percent.


Participants with no prior knowledge of triage instruments may be capable of triaging injured patients with the help of an easy triage instrument. The over- and under-triage percentages were low, and this may indicate that the developed triage instrument is relatively easy to use. It may also indicate that bystanders can identify a severely injured patient.

Nordberg M , Castrén M , Lindström V . Primary Trauma Triage Performed by Bystanders: An Observation Study. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016;31(4):353357.


Corresponding author

Correspondence: Veronica Lindström, RN, PhD Karolinska Institutet Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Nursing Alfred Nobels alle’ 23 141 83 Huddinge, Sweden E-mail:


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Primary Trauma Triage Performed by Bystanders: An Observation Study

  • Martin Nordberg (a1), Maaret Castrén (a2) and Veronica Lindström (a3)


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