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We investigated the accuracy of initial critical care triage in blast-injured versus non-blast-injured trauma patients, focusing on those inappropriately triaged to the intensive care unit (ICU) for brief (<16 h) stays.
We conducted a retrospective review of the Israel National Trauma Registry, applying a predetermined definition of need for initial ICU admission.
A total of 883 blast-injured and 112 185 non-blast-injured patients were categorized according to their need for ICU admission. Of these admissions, 5.7% in the blast setting and 8.4% in the non-blast setting were considered unnecessary. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative likelihood ratios for the triage officers' decisions in assigning patients to the ICU were 95.5%, 98.8%, 77.2, and 0.05, respectively, in the blast setting, and 91.2%, 99.5%, 200.5, and 0.09, respectively, in the non-blast setting.
Triage officers do a better job sending to the ICU only those patients who require initial intensive care in the non-blast setting, though this is obscured by a much greater overall need for ICU-level care in the blast setting. Implementing triage protocols in the blast setting may help reduce the number of patients sent initially to the ICU for brief periods, thus increasing the availability of this resource. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1–7)
Inappropriate distribution of casualties in mass-casualty incidents (MCIs) may overwhelm hospitals. This study aimed to review the consequences of evacuating casualties from a bus accident to a single peripheral hospital and lessons learned regarding policy of casualty evacuation.
Medical records of all casualties relating to evacuation times, injury severity, diagnoses, treatments, resources utilized and outcomes were independently reviewed by two senior trauma surgeons. In addition, four senior trauma surgeons reviewed impact of treatment provided on patient outcomes. They reviewed the times for the primary and secondary evacuation, injury severity, diagnoses, surgical treatments, resources utilized, and the final outcomes of the patients at the point of discharge from the tertiary care hospital.
Thirty-one survivors were transferred to the closest local hospital; four died en route to hospital or within 30 minutes of arrival. Twenty-seven casualties were evacuated by air from the local hospital within 2.5 to 6.15 hours to Level I and II hospitals. Undertriage of 15% and overtriage of seven percent were noted. Four casualties did not receive treatment that might have improved their condition at the local hospital.
In MCIs occurring in remote areas, policy makers should consider revising the current evacuation plan so that only immediate unstable casualties should be transferred to the closest primary hospital. On site Advanced Life Support (ALS) should be administered to non-severe casualties until they can be evacuated directly to tertiary care hospitals. First responders must be trained to provide ALS to non-severe casualties until evacuation resources are available.
AdiniB, CohenR, GlassbergE, AzariaB, SimonD, SteinM, KleinY, PelegK. Reconsidering Policy of Casualty Evacuation in a Remote Mass-Casualty Incident. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(6):1-5.
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