Hospital trauma care in multiple-casualty incidents: a critical view

Ann Emerg Med. 2001 Jun;37(6):647-52. doi: 10.1067/mem.2001.115650.


During a multiple-casualty incident, a large casualty caseload adversely affects the quality of trauma care given to individual patients. From a trauma care perspective, the goal of the hospital emergency plan is to provide severely injured patients with a level of care that approximates the care given to similar patients under normal conditions. Therefore, the realistic admitting capacity of the hospital is determined primarily by the number of trauma teams that the hospital can recruit. Effective triage of these casualties is often not straightforward, with high overtriage rates. Simplified triage algorithms may be a practical alternative to more elaborate schemes. The concept of minimal acceptable care is the key to a staged management approach during a mass-casualty incident. Discrete-event computer simulation and war game tabletop exercises for key personnel are 2 new modalities that are supplementing the traditional mock disaster drill as effective planning and training tools.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Computer Simulation
  • Decision Trees
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Games, Experimental
  • Health Care Rationing / organization & administration
  • Hospital Bed Capacity
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / organization & administration
  • Leadership
  • Multiple Trauma / therapy*
  • Physician's Role
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Traumatology / education
  • Traumatology / organization & administration*
  • Triage / organization & administration*
  • Workload