Numerous animal studies investigate resuscitation techniques following trauma. Some have adopted the term ‘pre-hospital’ to indicate a period in the experimental protocol corresponding to the pre-hospital evacuation of a casualty in the clinical setting. With a plausible biological narrative and appealing explanation, such studies have the potential to be misleading, and lack credibility due to lack of translatability. The true pre-hospital period is characterised by urgency, noise, unpredictability, multiple patient transfers, patient movement, variation in temperature and humidity, and interference in delivery of clinical interventions and technical skills. Logistical and practical constraints are also implied by the use of the term ‘pre-hospital’, since multiple specialists, modes of transport, coordination and resources are necessary.