Trauma is the United States most important, expensive, and tragic health problem, costing more years of life than cancer, heart disease, or aids, and the country's 4th leading cause of death. It is the Number 1 killer of residents under 37, accounting for 100,000 deaths per year, temporarily disables 11 million others, and permanently disables 470,000.
The effectiveness of Trauma Care depends upon early notification, prompt dispatch, skilled extrication and field resuscitation, clear communication, and orderly transport to the appropriate medical facility. The American Trauma Society recently initiated a new program outlining the five critical aspects of bystander care of the injured. If you follow these guidelines and provide this information to emergency dispatchers you can assist in providing accurate care to the injured:
- Scene safety; make sure the scene is safe of hazards.
- Awake or responsive; is the patient alert or unconscious?
- Breathing; is the patient breathing? Is the breathing labored?
- Bleeding; is the patient bleeding? From where?
- Get help; as soon as possible and know the right number to call.
The EMS profession talks about trauma in the term of "the golden hour." This golden hour is the time from when the patient first is struck with a trauma injury, till they receive vital pre-hospital care followed by treatment at an appropriate surgical treatment at a medical facility. The first 60 minutes after a trauma injury are crucial in improving the chances of survival. This vital treatment within this time period is often the difference between life and death or sort-term hospital care and lifetime disability.
During this National EMS Week everyone should take the time to reflect upon the valuable number of volunteers who give their time to the Emergency Medical Service to assist neighbors and strangers in time of need.