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- Team Leader - Trauma Surgeon, Emergency Medicine Physician, or Anesthesiologist
- Anaesthetic Assistant
- General Surgeon
- Orthopaedic Surgeon
- Emergency Physician
- Respiratory Therapist
- Two Nurses. (Three if no anaesthetic assistant)
- In some hospitals, EMTs or Paramedics are used as technicians for vascular access and lab procedures or microscopic features.
- Scribe - a technician who records and documents specifics of patient care
Other specialities can be added depending on the nature of the injury, for example a neurosurgeon will attend if there is a serious head injury. All staff should be trained in Advanced Trauma Life Support techniques. Each hospital will have a list of criteria that require the activation of the trauma team, such as a fall of over 6 meters or a fracture of 2 or more bones.
The ATLS is designed such that the lone doctor can safely look after a multiply injured patient. Tasks are performed in sequence, one after the other. This 'vertical organization' is the least efficient method of proceeding, and where more than one member of staff is available, a team approach is usually employed. This 'horizontal organization' has been shown to lead to significant reductions in resuscitation times.
The trauma team is ideally made up of a group of doctors, nurses, operating department assistants, radiographers and other support personnel who have no other commitment that day than to receive and treat trauma patients. Obviously this is a very expensive arrangement, and most hospitals cannot afford this level of cover. If the doctors involved are residents, senior consulting staff should be immediately available if necessary. Many centres now have their trauma teams led by consultants.