Airway, Respiration & Ventilation
Cardiology & Resuscitation
EMS Operations

4.02 Trauma Overview

Trauma is the leading cause of death for people aged 1-44 and something that all prehospital personnel will be required to respond to and manage. A systematic approach to the trauma patient is critical to address life-threatening emergencies as soon as possible without getting distracted by other injuries that may be present. Understanding how to appropriately approach the trauma patient as well as how the trauma system works provides the framework for making sure that all trauma patients get the care that they need as quickly as possible. In this lesson, we will take a look at the systems and processes that have been put into place to do just that. 

Learning objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to…

  • Identify the steps in the systematic approach to the trauma patient 
  • Define the Glasgow Coma Scale and understand how to utilize the scale 
  • Identify the key aspects of the revised trauma score 
  • Understand the steps in the National Trauma Triage Protocol. 
  • List the different trauma designations and understand how each is defined. 
  • Recognize examples of significant mechanisms of injury

High Yield Content

  • The systematic approach allows for early identification of the most life-threatening issues first
  • The GCS assesses eyes, verbal, and motor with maximum scores in each category of 4, 5 and 6
  • The lowest GCS score is 3 and the highest is 14
  • The revised trauma score is one scoring system that assesses GCS, Systolic BP and Ventilatory rate to predict trauma severity 
  • The revised trauma score is most heavily weighted on GCS and should be calculated during the initial assessment 
  • The National Trauma Triage Protocol assesses Vital Signs, Injuries, MOI, and special considerations to determine where in a trauma system a patient should be transferred
  • Trauma designations range from Level 5 to Level 1 with Level 1 trauma centers having the most robust resources to assess and manage traumatic patients.