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Article
April 7, 1956

MOBILE MEDICAL SUPPORT FOR CIVIL DEFENSE2. TREATMENT OF MASS CASUALTIES

JAMA. 1956;160(14):1211-1214. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960490025007
Abstract

• Under disaster conditions, the treatment of the individual patient cannot approach the ideal. Compromises in treatment become essential, but they follow some general principles: 1. Infections under these conditions have to be treated, rather than prevented. 2. When the supply of blood is limited, it can be used most efficiently in patients in whom the hemorrhage has been controlled; a limited quantity of blood will, therefore, save more patients with injuries in the extremities than with intraabdominal hemorrhage. 3. In the treatment of thermal injuries, priority should be given to those casualties with burns of 20 to 40%. 4. Patients with wounds of the brain can be transported to fixed hospitals without greatly increasing the mortality. 5. Patients with thoracic and abdominal wounds deserve a fairly high priority.

These principles were followed in "Operation Mercy." The sorting station was divided into four areas, the admission and triage section, the resuscitation section, the holding section, and the evacuation point. A mobile emergency hospital was given a thorough trial.

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