Centennial reprint: ACS Fellow offers recommendations for avoiding “Death in a Ditch”

To help commemorate the American College of Surgeons’ (ACS) Centennial, the Bulletin is reprinting articles centered on the issues and developments that have defined the character and integrity of the organization throughout its history. This month, the Bulletin is reprinting “Death in a Ditch,” which was published in the May–June 1967 issue and reissued with revisions in 1970.

“Death in a Ditch,” written by J.D. Farrington, MD, FACS, then a trauma surgeon in Minocqua, WI, remains one of the most widely requested articles published in the magazine. The article presents the concepts Dr. Farrington used to instruct rescue workers and townspeople on the safe extrication, emergency care, and transport of patients involved in vehicular crashes. It outlines the steps first responders should take in assessing patients’ level of injury and providing on-site care for those conditions. It also demonstrates proper extrication techniques and lists the equipment that should be carried in emergency vehicles.

The ACS remains deeply committed to ensuring that trauma patients receive fast, effective care. As part of that pledge, the ACS continues to train emergency services personnel in the proper care of trauma patients through the presentation of its Advanced Trauma Life Support® course. This program ensures that patients throughout the world can avoid death in a ditch or any other accident site.

Download “Death in a Ditch” in the May–June 1967 ACS Bulletin, Volume 52 No. 3.

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