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Triage, teamwork lessons learned from earthquakes, tsunamis and terrorist attacks

Triage, teamwork lessons learned from earthquakes, tsunamis and terrorist attacks
Orthopaedics Today Europe, May 2016

Within minutes or days of a mass trauma event, hundreds — possibly thousands — of patients may arrive at the emergency room of a hospital nearest the site of the incident. At these times, orthopaedic surgeons can play a key role in the triage and treatment of patients. Later, when these patients undergo limb salvage, reconstruction or amputation procedures, these physicians typically perform the surgery or are involved in the ongoing management of patients.

Orthopaedics Today Europe spoke with orthopaedic surgeons who have been in these situations, including war, tsunamis, earthquakes and terrorist attacks. They said it is nearly impossible to fully prepare to receive these kinds of patients, but having some kind of plan, even a rough one, for their management — before a mass trauma disaster occurs — can be helpful.

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