Improving trauma care in Trinidad and Tobago

West Indian Med J. 1994 Jun;43(2):36-8.


Identification of trauma as a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Trinidad and Tobago prompted the establishment of a training programme aimed at improving trauma care in this developing country. An Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) programme for physicians, funded through the Canadian International Development Agency resulted in a statistically significant improvement of in-hospital trauma patient outcome at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital (observed to expected mortality ratio of 3.16 pre-ATLS compared to 1.94 post-ATLS). A recent analysis of all motor vehicle injuries for a shorter period did not confirm this positive impact of the ATLS programme, primarily because a large number of these patients died in the pre-hospital period. Pre-hospital trauma care therefore required urgent attention to complement the positive in-hospital impact of the ATLS programme. A second training programme (the Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support or PHTLS) for paramedical personnel was thus instituted in 1990. Over 250 physicians have been trained in the ATLS programme and to date over 100 paramedical personnel have been trained in the PHTLS programme. Attempts have also been made to equip the ambulances with more appropriate resuscitative devices in order to improve pre-hospital care. The combination of the PHTLS and the ATLS programme should result in further improvement in the care of patients sustaining major injuries in Trinidad and Tobago.

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Hospitals, General
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*