The Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services has recommended that state and local EMS agencies improve their mass casualty triage capabilities by adopting the new guideline and released an implementation plan for meeting that recommendation nationally.
The guideline, dubbed the Model Uniform Core Criteria, or MUCC, identifies the key features that should be included in a mass casualty triage system and is designed to standardize the process and improve interoperability between agencies when they respond to an emergency with multiple casualties. One of the guideline's key recommendations is to quickly identify those with life-threatening injuries and provide immediate lifesaving interventions, such as placing a tourniquet to stop a victim from bleeding to death.
"Having a national standard for mass casualty triage means that all responders in these chaotic and rapidly-changing situations will be operating from the same sheet of music. This will help to ensure that as many lives as possible are saved," said E. Brooke Lerner, Ph.D., professor of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and deputy director of MCW's Injury Research Center.
"Based on the lessons learned from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the MUCC ensures that critical patients with potential for survival get immediate help by incorporating quick lifesaving interventions, such as a tourniquet or opening their airway. The lifesaving interventions are integrated directly into the triage protocol," said Dr. Richard Schwartz, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine and Hospitalist Services at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University in Augusta.
Dr. Schwartz was principal investigator on the grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that enabled broad-scale assessment of existing military and civilian triage protocols. Dr. Lerner led the 30-member multidisciplinary working group representing federal and academic institutions that developed the MUCC guideline.
"Most triage protocols used in the United States today do not include lifesaving interventions," Schwartz said. "This guideline will ensure that all responders to a mass casualty incident are providing lifesaving interventions that only take seconds to do then quickly moving to the next victim," Schwartz said.
The Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical represents the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Communication Commission. The committee has indicated federal dollars may be available to help implement the protocols across the nation.
About the Medical College of Wisconsin
The Medical College of Wisconsin is the state's only private medical school and health sciences graduate school. Founded in 1893, it is dedicated to leadership and excellence in education, patient care, research and community engagement. More than 1,200 students are enrolled in the Medical College's medical school and graduate school programs in Milwaukee. New regional medical education campuses are opening in Green Bay in 2015, and in Central Wisconsin in 2016, with each recruiting initial classes of 15-20 students. A major national research center, MCW is the largest research institution in the Milwaukee metro area and second largest in Wisconsin. In FY 2012-13, faculty received approximately $160 million in external support for research, teaching, training and related purposes, of which approximately $144 million is for research. This total includes highly competitive research and training awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Annually, College faculty direct or collaborate on more than 2,000 research studies, including clinical trials. Additionally, more than 1,350 physicians provide care in virtually every specialty of medicine for more than 425,000 patients annually.
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