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Trauma is defined as a physical injury or wound caused by an external force of violence, which may cause death or permanent disability. The word is also used to describe severe emotional or psychological shock or distress.

Picture of female heart attack victim, clenching her chest

Most of us recognize a traumatic injury or a person in distress when we see one, and we are able to call for immediate medical assistance. But, what about those injuries and illnesses we are not sure qualify as traumas or emergencies? It is important to learn and recognize when immediate medical care is necessary and when the condition can be managed ourselves.

Being prepared and knowing how to react ahead of time could prevent a situation from becoming an emergency. And, learning how to respond to conditions and illnesses properly could make the difference between a potentially fatal outcome and a treatable, manageable situation.

Learn the local emergency numbers in your area and always ask for help in any medical situation you are unsure about - it could make the difference between life and death.

Online Medical Reviewer: Hanrahan, John, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Weisbart, Ed, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 4/2/2014
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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