A review of the history of the origin of triage from a disaster medicine perspective

Acute Med Surg. 2017 Jul 14;4(4):379-384. doi: 10.1002/ams2.293. eCollection 2017 Oct.


We usually associate triage with the Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment method, but much of its origin is still unknown. Therefore, French studies and the origin of triage shown in domestic and foreign published works have been investigated and its significance reaffirmed. The etymology of the word "triage" means "to break into three pieces." It was suggested by a literature review that the rise of Napoleon led to military tactical changes, and that the prototype of triage arose from the experience gained in the difficult campaign in Egypt and Syria. Subsequently, triage was refined by Napoleon's military surgeon, D. J. Larrey, who created the ambulance transport system. Although there is a clash between the ruthless and philanthropic aspects of triage, triage is in accordance with the primary purpose of evacuation or treatment. We should choose the triage method that is consistent with the purpose of each disaster situation.

Keywords: Ambulance; Napoleon; Syria campaign; evacuation.

Publication types

  • Review