The triage nurse is working in the ED. A homeless person is admitted during a blizzard with complaints of being unable to feel his feet and lower legs. Core temperature is noted at 33.2C (91.8F). The patient is intoxicated with alcohol at the time of admission and is visibly malnourished. What is the triage nurses priority in the care of this patient?

Answer Explanation: The patient may also have frostbite, but hypothermia takes precedence in treatment because it is systemic rather than localized. The alcohol abuse and the alteration in nutrition do not take precedence over the treatment of hypothermia because both problems are a less acute threat to the patients survival.

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