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Evolution of triage systems
  1. Iain Robertson-Steel
  1. West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Iain R S Robertson-Steel
 West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Millennium Point, Waterfront Business Park, Waterfront Way, Brierley Hill, West Midlands DY5 1LX; iain.robertson-steel{at}


The French word “trier”, the origin of the word “triage”, was originally applied to a process of sorting, probably around 1792, by Baron Dominique Jean Larrey, Surgeon in Chief to Napoleon’s Imperial Guard. Larrey was credited with designing a flying ambulance: the Ambulance Volante. Baron Francois Percy also contributed to the organisation of a care system for the ongoing management of casualties. Out of the French Service de Santé, not only emerged the concept of triage, but the organisational structure necessary to handle the growing number of casualties in modern warfare.

  • EED, European Emergency Data
  • TEWS, Triage Early Warning Score
  • triage
  • care systems
  • prioritisation
  • emergency department

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  • Competing interests: none declared