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Article
December 15, 1956

SORTING—THE KEY TO MANAGEMENT OF VICTIMS OF DISASTER

Author Affiliations

U. S. Army

Chief, Medical and Surgical Branch, Department of Professional Sciences, Army Medical Service School, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

JAMA. 1956;162(16):1438-1441. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970330010002
Abstract

• The simultaneous infliction of injuries of all degrees on a large population must be anticipated in the event of either natural or nuclear disasters. When facilities for treatment are limited, the greatest possible number of lives can be saved only by making sure that these facilities are not exhausted by injudicious use on either the trivial or the hopeless cases. Triage, the sorting of the injured, must be done by the most mature surgeon available. It decides questions of treatment, of transportation, and of return to duty. Its effectiveness is enhanced by attention to the changing tactical situation. The principles of triage here stated were developed under conditions of conventional warfare. But it must be assumed that with certain modifications they will apply also under the altered conditions of the future, such as the sudden outbreak of nuclear warfare or the occurrence of natural disasters in a more densely populated world.

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