There is evidence that helicopter scene response for victims of trauma decreases morbidity and mortality rates for critically ill and injured patients. 891 ,.11 and 12 In spite of this, there is still a concern that air medical services are inappropriately overutilized for trauma scene responses. The appropriate use of helicopters at trauma scenes involves a complex interplay of factors: How far away is the scene from the helicopter base? What resources are already responding to the patient or patients? What is the distance from the scene to the local hospital or the trauma center? How many victims are there, and what is the severity of their injuries? Is there a significant amount of extrication needed before a patient can be moved to definitive care?
National guidelines (Table.i3:1) have been developed to assist in making decisions for trauma scene responses.13 Clinical information such as mechanism of injury, severity of injury, vital signs, and level of consciousness are one part of the equation. Emergency medical technicians on the scene are very accurate at defining which patients are critical and need air medical transport to the trauma center.14
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