The initial care of a patient with a spinal cord injury must be performed in conjunction with the evaluation and treatment of coexisting injuries, both potential and diagnosed. As with all multiply injured patients, this involves prehospital evaluation and triage, which should be designed to deliver the patient to the most appropriate level of care for the compendium of injuries. In addition, prehospital therapy must include stabilization of the patient as well as control of the underlying problem if possible. Emergency department (ED) evaluation must be tailored to rapidly identify injuries and institute early therapy.
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