A mass casualty event is defined as any event that results in a number of injured people that is sensibly higher than the number of available healthcare providers (Slater and Trunkey 1997). Although it is usually a synonym with a large number of injured people, a mass casualty disaster does not necessarily involve a large number of victims, but is actually related to the disproportion between the number of victims and the availability of a corresponding medical team. This relative paucity of medical resources dictates the application of different protocols than those existent in routine day-to-day trauma events, when the resources are greater than the casualties involved (Caro 1974; Weighlt et al. 1997).

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