: the sorting of and allocation of treatment to patients and especially battle and disaster victims according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors
: the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care
Division of patients for priority of care, usually into three categories: those who will not survive even with treatment; those who will survive without treatment; and those whose survival depends on treatment. If triage is applied, the treatment of patients requiring it is not delayed by useless or unnecessary treatment of those in the other groups. Triage originated in military medicine, when limited resources faced many wounded soldiers. It is used in civilian settings during disasters or epidemics and in emergency rooms. Triage decisions are made after relatively quick examination; patients in lower-priority groups should be reexamined periodically.