On-scene medical decision making and overtriage

Authors

  • Mr. T. J. Coats,

    Corresponding author
    1. Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, The Royal London Hospital Trust, Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BB, UK
    • Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, The Royal London Hospital Trust, Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BB, UK
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  • A. W. Wilson,

    1. Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, The Royal London Hospital Trust, Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BB, UK
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  • F. W. Cross

    1. Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, The Royal London Hospital Trust, Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BB, UK
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Abstract

This study examined whether a hospital-based helicopter trauma service led to 'overtriage' of patients back to the multispecialty base hospital. All accident-site triage decisions made during 1991 were studied. Seven of the 574 decisions (1·2 per cent) led to inappropriate movement of the patient to a specialist centre. Twenty-six decisions (4·5 per cent) were based on mechanism of injury alone and the possibility of overtriage by this method is discussed. A trained doctor can select the correct destination for a patient with trauma without inappropriately using the base hospital in preference to local centres.

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