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Trauma on the Internet

This page will give you an overview of trauma care and injury prevention on the internet. Highlighting the major sites and resources, it will guide you through the internet trauma knowledge base and show you how to join related discussion groups and chat facilities. It is not meant to be an exhaustive listing of all web sites, but will provide a framework around which to base your online trauma activities.

This is not meant to be a guide to the internet, and assumes you know how to use a web browser and email client. However we will make some suggestions along the way about what software we like and think is useful.

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Trauma first started appearing on the internet in early 1995. At this time there were only 3 web sites (of which TRAUMA.ORG was one). Since then the internet has exploded in both size and importance across the planet. The amount of trauma information available has also expanded apace. The internet basically provides two vital and interlinked resources - information and community.

Information is the most tangible aspect of the internet. If you want to know about the treatment of burns from chemical weapons, how to read a cervical spine X-ray, what the weather's like in Antarctica (currently cold), or the temperature on the surface of the Sun (currently hot), it's all out there on the web, somewhere.

Community is less obvious, but just as powerful, if not more so. As soon as your web presence becomes more involved and interactive than skipping through web pages, you'll start interacting with other people. These people may be down the street from you, or they may be across the globe. They've all seen and read and done things differently from yourself. Chances are that if you sat next to them on a bus or at a conference they wouldn't give you the time of day. Everyday they log on to the internet because you do too.

The power and usefulness of the internet community is different for everyone, and you will find how you fit into the scheme of things. But sit back and think of the possibilities. A trauma surgeon discussing a difficult case with colleagues. A paramedic informing hospital personnel of the practicalities of treating patients in the street. A multinational research team coordinating their project daily in real time. A student watching a video of chest drain insertion. Conference organisers advance registering participants and providing course materials on-line. And then there's they way you use the internet. Your basic gateway to the trauma internet community are the mailing lists.

All is not entirely rosy however. Information on the internet is often incomplete and may be difficult to find. As yet there is little cooperation or centralisation between the main providers, although this is changing slowly. Almost none of the data on the internet is peer reviewed, though this too will have to change in the future. Finally a person you converse with may be the best doctor that ever lived, or may regularly lose a few patients using their 'special' techiniques.

None of this should detract from the fact that the internet is the greatest single advance in the care of injured patients in the past 20 years. Enjoy the wired world.

Trauma Web Sites