The hour immediately after a serious injury, when caring for the injury is critical to the victim’s survival. The patient should not experience a degradation in the level of care received.
The ‘golden hour’ is term often used in trauma to suggest that an injured patient has 60 minutes from time of injury to receive definitive care, after which morbidity and mortality significantly increase
- The term “golden hour” is widely attributed to R. Adams Cowley, founder of Baltimore’s renowned Shock Trauma Institute, who in a 1975 article stated, “the first hour after injury will largely determine a critically injured person’s chances for survival” – this was in an era characterised by a lack of an organised trauma system and inadequate prehospital care.
- The validity of this concept remains controversial
- An analogous concept, the “platinum 10 minutes” places a time constraint on the pre-hospital care of seriously injured patients: no patient should have more than 10 min of scene-time stabilization by the prehospital team prior to transport to definitive care at a trauma center.