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Trauma: The Burden of a Preventable Problem



Trauma is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developing countries and we reviewed the demographics and cost of trauma in a Jamaican population. This is a retrospective, descriptive analytical study of all trauma patients aged 25 to 29-years who presented to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) during the study period, January 2001 to December 2005. Data were extracted from the Trauma Registry and analysed. Seven hundred and fifteen patients were included in the specified age group over the five-year period. The median age of the patients was 27 years and the median hospital stay was 3 days. There was a 4:1 ratio of males to females and 49.7% of injuries were caused by penetrating wounds. Motor vehicle accidents occurred in 22.4% of cases. Head injuries occurred in 13.6% of cases, long bone fractures in 16.5% and internal injury to chest or abdominal organs in 15.9% of cases. Craniotomy or thoracotomy was undertaken in 4% of cases, Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) or bone immobilization in 11% and laparotomy in 8% of cases. The mean injury severity scores (ISS) was 4 while 5% of patients had ISS greater than 15. More than 60% of patients underwent diagnostic X-rays, 8% had abdominal imaging (CT scan or ultrasound) and 9.5% underwent head CT scan. The in-hospital mortality was 4.2%. The median hospital bill charged was US$320.00 and the median amount paid by the patients was US$50.00. At the start of the new millennium, penetrating trauma accounted for almost 50% of cases at UHWI with the majority of costs associated with trauma-care being state funded.

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e-Published: 01 Oct, 2013
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