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What is the "golden hour" for major injuries?


In the moments after an accident, there are so many sensations going through your head, it can get overwhelming. Not only is there pain, but there is a concern about when help will arrive and whether they will arrive in time to help you.

There are certain interventions that are most effective within the first hour of an injury. These interventions can make a significant difference in long-term recovery.

Here’s what you should know about the “golden hour” for recovery from major injuries.

What is the “golden hour”?

Many believe the first hour after a major injury is critical for both short and long-term injuries. Referred to as the “golden hour,” this is the ideal timeframe for helping an accident victim make a better recovery. In military applications, health care professionals have seen a dramatic difference when patients receive care within the first hour of injury.

However, there are differing opinions in the medical community about how critical the first hour after an injury is regarding both overall and long-term recovery. Of course, it is better to treat a patient sooner than later, but there is some discrepancy about whether there is a “golden hour” for treating certain injuries.

What injuries are most urgent?

When it comes to being able to keep a patient alive after an accident, first responders and the rest of the emergency medical team need to be able to keep the major systems functioning (or revive them as soon as possible), primarily, the heart, brain and lungs.

As doctors shift from keeping an accident victim alive to their long-term recovery, it is important to resolve injuries that include:

  • Internal and external bleeding
  • Nerve damage
  • Internal organ damage

It is important to resolve these injuries quickly so that the body can begin to repair itself, rather than start the process of rejecting the damaged areas. Once some types of damage have begun, they are difficult or impossible to reverse.

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