OBJECTIVE: To determine the value of advanced trauma life support (ATLS) training for medical staff in a major incident situation, based upon performance in a simulated exercise. METHODS: A major incident exercise was used to assess the management of trauma victims arriving in hospital suffering from multiple or life threatening injuries. The effect of ATLS training, or exposure to an abbreviated form of ATLS training, on the management of patients with simulated life threatening traumatic injuries was examined. The treatment offered by medical staff of different grades and varying exposure to ATLS training was compared. RESULTS: Medical staff who had undertaken ATLS training attained a higher number of ATLS key treatment objectives when treating the simulated trauma victims. CONCLUSION: Medical staff who have either undertaken the full ATLS course or an abbreviated form of the course were more effective in their management of the simulated trauma cases.
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