Injury is one of the most common diseases to afflict humans throughout time. Arguably, no other patient demands immediate attention, challenges surgical decision making and consumes significant resources as much as one who is severely injured. Survival depends very much upon intervention being timely, systematic and coordinated. As a multi-system disease arising largely from circumstance and behaviour, injury should be predictable and preventable, and indeed advances have been made in trauma prevention and management with improved outcomes. In spite of this, injury remains a chronic public health epidemic affecting a staggering 18% of the Australian population each year. The social and economic burden of injury is enormous and trauma continues to feature prominently as a leading cause of mortality, morbidity and long-term disability, most notably among the young and fit.
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