The history of events yields important information on potential risk factors for severe trauma. Similarly, the mechanism of injury provides comprehensive and invaluable clues which injuries to suspect in a severe trauma patient. Finally, a structured “head-to-toe” examination allows for rapid and reliable recognition of the vast majority of life-threatening injuries. As few other systematic physical examinations in the critically ill, the “head-to-toe” examination in the severe trauma patient must be done in a structured fashion, as the conditions under which it is generally performed are adverse and often stressful (Tables 16.1, 16.2, and 16.4 and Figs. 16.2, 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, 16.6, 16.7, 16.8, and 16.9).
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