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University of Utah Hospital develops emergency field amputation guidelines

The team said a trauma surgical team will be able to dispatch in minutes to treat patients that are physically unable to leave the scene

By EMS1 Staff

SALT LAKE CITY — A hospital team has created a new way to respond to patients in need of emergency amputations on the scene of an incident.

FOX13 reported that the University of Utah Hospital developed a trauma surgical team that will be able to dispatch to a scene in minutes to treat patients who are physically unable to leave.

“We’ve taken what was an hour-and-a-half-process of mobilizing the team to the scene to where now, with this program and this protocol and with our capabilities, that process would take 10 to 15 minutes, thereby saving what is precious time for a critically injured patient,” Associate Trauma Medical Director Dr. Toby Enniss said.

“In trauma we talk about the ‘golden hour,’ in which patients who are potentially salvageable have a limited amount of time where they can be salvaged, but that means getting them to the appropriate care,” Enniss added.

Medical Trauma Director Dr. Ram Nirula said that a surgical team was needed outside of the hospital 26 times over a five-year span, according to research from Texas.

“This has been recognized as a need for decades, that we needed to have a forward surgical team to do this,” Dr. Nirula said. “The need does not happen frequently, but it happens often enough.”

Surgical supplies are also prepared for quick response, including multiple bone saws, dressings and tourniquets.