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Over half of all major traumatic injuries are as a result of a road traffic accident; other common causes are industrial (or farming) accidents, sporting accidents, an assault, a fall from a great height and self-harm. There are around 20,000 major trauma cases in the UK every year and the average age of patients is just under 40 years old (The Trauma Audit and Research Network).

Common major traumatic injuries include multiple injuries to different parts of the body such as the chest, abdominal injury with a fractured pelvis; spinal injury; damage to internal organs; severe burns; and knife and gunshot wounds. Major traumatic injury is the main cause of death of people under the age of 40 with survivors often suffering long-term disability. (The Lancet: Changing the system – Major trauma patients and their outcomes in the NHS (England 2008 -17). Major Trauma is sometimes referred to as poly trauma.

When people are admitted to hospital the severity of their injuries are assessed and scored. The body is divided into six sections and the injuries in each section are given a scoring of between 1-6 (1 Minor and 6 Unsurvivable). The three highest injury scores (taken from three different regions of the body) are squared and added together to give a total score on the Injury Severity Scale. Anyone with a score of 16 or more is assessed to have a major traumatic injury.

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