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Injured patients present a wide range of complex problems. The Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS®) Student Course presents a concise approach to assessing and managing multiply injured patients. The course presents doctors with knowledge and techniques that are comprehensive and easily adapted to fit their needs. The skills described in the manual represent one safe way to perform each technique, and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) recognizes that there are other acceptable approaches. However, the knowledge and skills taught in the course are easily adapted to all venues for the care of patients.
The ACS and its Committee on Trauma (COT) have developed the ATLS program for doctors. This program provides systemic and concise training for the early care of trauma patients. The ATLS program provides participants with a safe, reliable method for immediate management of the injured patient and the basic knowledge necessary to:
- Assess the patient’s condition rapidly and accurately
- Resuscitate and stabilize the patient according to priority
- Determine if the patient’s needs exceed a facility’s capacity
- Arrange appropriately for the patient’s inter-hospital transfer (who, what, when, and how)
- Assure that optimum care is provided and that the level of care does not deteriorate at any point during the evaluation, resuscitation, or transfer process
For doctors who infrequently treat trauma, the ATLS course provides an easy-to-remember method for evaluating and treating the victim of a traumatic event. For doctors who treat traumatic disease on a frequent basis, the ATLS course provides a scaffold for evaluation, treatment, education, and quality assurance. In short, ATLS is a measurable, reproducible, and comprehensive system of trauma care.