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The role of a regional trauma system in the management of a mass disaster: an analysis of the Keystone, Colorado, chairlift accident.

Authors
  • Ammons, M A
  • Moore, E E
  • Pons, P T
  • Moore, F A
  • McCroskey, B L
  • Cleveland, H C
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Publisher
Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer) - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Publication Date
Oct 01, 1988
Volume
28
Issue
10
Pages
1468–1471
Identifiers
PMID: 3172307
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

On December 14, 1985, the Teller chairlift at the Keystone, Colorado, ski area collapsed, throwing 60 of the 372 people aboard to the ground from heights up to 50 feet. Initial triage and management of the victims was carried out by the local ski patrol, the on-duty physician at the area's Snake River Health Services Clinic, and by volunteer physicians and nurses present at the scene. Thirty-three people required immediate evacuation to hospitals, most of them being transported 75 miles by helicopter air ambulance to level I and II trauma centers in the Denver metropolitan area. Eighteen of these air-evacuated patients were in serious or critical condition. Less seriously injured victims were treated at local medical facilities. The scene evacuation was carried out by helicopter and ground vehicles in accordance with an existing disaster plan coordinated by the Colorado Trauma Institute (CTI). The unique problems posed by a mass casualty incident in a remote mountain location are emphasized by this tragedy. Patient salvage due to the efficacy of a regionally organized trauma system is clearly demonstrated.

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