The impact of injury severity and prehospital procedures on scene time in victims of major trauma

Daniel W. Spaite, David J. Tse, Terence D. Valenzuela, Elizabeth A. Criss, Harvey W. Meislin, Mark Mahoney, John Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Study objective: To evaluate the relationship among injury severity, prehospital procedures, and time spent at the scene by paramedics for victims of major trauma. Design: Retrospective study of 98 consecutive patients with an Injury Severity Score of more than 15 who were brought to a trauma center by fire department paramedics. Setting: A medium-sized metropolitan emergency medical services (EMS) system and a Level I trauma center. Results: There were 66 male and 32 female patients with a mean age of 34 years. Thirty-two patients (32.6%) died. Blunt and penetrating trauma accounted for 68.4% and 31.6% of cases, respectively. Thirty-three patients (33.7%) had successful advanced airway procedures, and 81 (82.7%) had at least one IV line started in the field. Analysis of scene time, prehospital procedures, and injury severity parameters revealed that more procedures were performed in the field on the more severely injured cases; that despite this, there was a trend toward shorter scene time for more severely injured patients; and that there was a mean scene time of 8.1 minutes. This is the shortest scene time reported to date for prehospital trauma care in an EMS system. Conclusion: Extremely short scene times can be attained without foregoing potentially life-saving advanced life support interventions in an urban EMS system with strong medical control. In such a system, the most severely injured victims may spend less time at the scene although more procedures are performed on them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1299-1305
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1991


  • advanced trauma life support
  • prehospital care
  • scene time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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