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The first phase of Indiana’s trauma system activates immediately following an injury — a call is made to the 911 operator, the response is coordinated among various Emergency Medical Services (EMS) ambulances, initial assessments and diagnoses of the patient are made, and the patient is stabilized and quickly but safely transported to a local hospital or trauma center. EMS crews are often the critical link between the injury-producing event and definitive care at a trauma center or local hospital. The first hour post–injury is known as “the Golden Hour,” when critical skilled care must be provided.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) is responsible for oversight of the EMS in Indiana.
Gov. Daniels has signed the Triage and Transport rule into law, after ISDH and EMS staff worked for more than a year to get the rule passed. The rule was published Wednesday, August 8, 2012. Our understanding is that the new rule took effect the same day. The rule mandates that the most seriously injured patients, those classified Step 1 and Step 2 by the CDC Field Triage Decision Scheme, be taken to a trauma center unless the trauma center is more than 45 minutes away or if the patient's life is endangered by going directly to a trauma center. In either case, the ambulance may take the patient to the nearest hospital.