Determination of Death in Trauma

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Section 1 - Administration

1.06 DETERMINATION OF DEATH IN TRAUMA

The criteria required to terminate resuscitative efforts in Trauma Related Cardiac Arrests are:

  • Injuries incompatible with life.

OR

  • The patient who has been decapitated or whose thorax or abdomen has been transected

OR

  • Traumatic injury patient who is pulseless and apneic on initial visual assessment, confirmed by chest auscultation; AND rhythm incompatible with life verified and documented in more than 1 lead.


Patient’s presenting with the above criteria can be assumed to have sustained a terminal injury. The decision to terminate efforts in Trauma Related Cardiac Arrests may be made without Medical Control interaction. Patient body care and removal will be made in conjunction and compliance with Federal, State, Local, and Agency Laws and Policies. A paramedic may decide to continue resuscitation efforts as outlined in these Practice Parameters. Reasons to continue may include scene safety, location, age and input from present family members.