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.
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.