Earthquakes and trauma: Review of triage and injury-specific, immediate care

O.P. Gautschi, D. Cadosch, Gunesh Rajan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    Earthquakes present a major threat to mankind. Increasing knowledge aboutgeophysical interactions, progressing architectural technology, and improveddisaster management algorithms have rendered modern populations less susceptibleto earthquakes. Nevertheless, the mass casualties resulting fromearthquakes in Great Kanto ( Japan), Ancash (Peru), Tangshan (China),Guatemala, Armenia, and Izmit (Turkey) or the recent earthquakes in Bhuj(India), Bam (Iran), Sumatra (Indonesia) and Kashmir (Pakistan) indicate thedevastating effect earthquakes can have on both individual and populationhealth. Appropriate preparation and implementation of crisis managementalgorithms are of utmost importance to ensure a large-scale medical-aidresponse is readily available following a devastating event. In particular, efficienttriage is vital to optimize the use of limited medical resources and toeffectively mobilize these resources so as to maximize patient salvage.However, the main priorities of disaster rescue teams are the rescue and provisionof emergency care for physical trauma. Furthermore, the establishmentof transport evacuation corridors, a feature often neglected, is essential inorder to provide the casualties with a chance for survival. The optimal managementof victims under such settings is discussed, addressing injuries of the body and psyche by means of simple diagnostic and therapeutic procedures globally applicable and available.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)195-201
    JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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