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The Ralph CPD Digest – Approach to the trauma patient

This is an educational blog post for our veterinary colleagues.

Every second counts in an emergency situation. Being able to quickly and appropriately stabilise a trauma patient has a great impact on the mortality of the patient. During this month’s free CPD session one of our ECC Diplomates, Kim Chong, presented how to approach the trauma patient.

Here are some of Kim’s tips from the session:

  1. Triage all trauma patients immediately to determine the urgency and severity of the trauma. Prioritise the cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurological systems first (and in that order). These are the major body systems to focus on in all emergency patients.
  2. Deliver immediate treatment for unstable patients (those with life-threatening conditions such as shock, bleeding, respiratory distress, brain and spinal cord injuries). Do not withhold analgesia.
  3. Run bedside blood tests and ultrasound if available. A little blood goes a long way!
  4. Even without blood loss, trauma patients may be relatively hypovolaemic. An isotonic crystalloid fluid is often a good first line in most animals. Remember to re-evaluate the patient after each fluid bolus if in shock.
  5. Consider early blood transfusions in patients who are experiencing moderate/severe haemorrhage. Replace blood with blood!
  6. Remember to titrate analgesia to effect, i.e. give some analgesia, assess the patient’s response, give some more analgesia if needed.

Did you know that we offer free, catered CPD events every month? For more details on our upcoming CPD events, please visit our Events page.

Thank you for reading!

Take care,

Team Ralph.

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