Triage (Health Care) Law and Legal Definition

The term ‘triage’ is a French word which literally means to sort or to categorize. In the context of health care, it refers to the method of classifying and separating sick or injured patients and to give them treatment based on the severity of their health conditions, their potential for survival, and the available resources such as medication or bed spaces, in order to ensure that medical facilities and staff are most effectively utilized. This method is usually adopted in hospital emergency rooms, battlefields, and at disaster sites when limited medical resources are allocated. The injured are either triaged for on the spot treatment or for transportation to a facility where they can receive more comprehensive care.

Military and civilian triage are the two types of triage. Civilian triage that gives priority to the persons who have life threatening injuries can be further divided into hospital triage and disaster triage. Military triage and disaster triage saves as many lives as possible given the limited resources.