Time to invest in trauma care

March 19, 2012, Springer

Up to two million lives, annually, could be saved globally with improvements in trauma care, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This estimate by Charles Mock, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and his team provides support for investment in and greater attention to strengthening trauma care services globally. Their work is published online in Springer's World Journal of Surgery.

There are significant differences in of severely injured individuals in countries at different economic levels. For example, in Seattle in the US (high income), the mortality rate from serious injury is approximately 35 percent, compared with 55 percent in Monterrey in Mexico (middle-income) and 63 percent in Kumasi in (low-income). Overall, 90 percent of trauma deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where resources are limited.

Mock and colleagues' work estimates how many lives could be saved if these differences in survival rates between countries at different economic levels could be reduced i.e. if they were all brought down to the 35 percent mark.

The researchers obtained data on the total number of trauma deaths in countries in different economic strata. Their calculations suggest that between 1.7 and 2 million lives could be saved in low- and middle-income countries if among seriously injured individuals could be reduced to those in high-income countries.

To achieve a reduction in unnecessary trauma deaths, the authors suggest improvements in both pre-hospital care – for example expansion of basic ambulance services and provision of basic first aid in the field - and hospital care itself. This includes providing more staff and equipment, more regular use of continuing education courses for trauma care, and implementation of trauma care improvement programs.

The authors conclude: "Implementing improvements in trauma care capabilities more widely could save a significant number of lives. Although the figure of nearly two million lives saved remains a long range vision requiring global investment, even small improvements in capabilities could have significant effects. What's more, such improvements in care are eminently affordable and cost-effective."

Explore further: Low levels of care-seeking for newborn illness in low- and middle-income countries

More information: Mock C et al (2012). An estimate of the number of lives that could be saved through improvements in trauma care globally. World Journal of Surgery; DOI 10.1007/s00268-012-1459-6

Related Stories

Low levels of care-seeking for newborn illness in low- and middle-income countries

March 7, 2012
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Abdullah Baqui from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA and colleagues systematically review studies describing newborn care-seeking behaviours by caregivers in low- and ...

Injured children may not be getting best possible care

May 2, 2011
Most injured children are not being treated at pediatric trauma centers, arguably the most appropriate location of care for young patients, according to a study to be presented Monday, May 2, at the Pediatric Academic Societies ...

Recommended for you

Drug may help surgical patients stop opioids sooner

December 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Opioid painkillers after surgery can be the first step toward addiction for some patients. But a common drug might cut the amount of narcotics that patients need, a new study finds.

Children best placed to explain facts of surgery to patients, say experts

December 13, 2017
Getting children to design patient information leaflets may improve patient understanding before they have surgery, finds an article in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Burn victim saved by skin grafts from identical twin (Update)

November 23, 2017
A man doomed to die after suffering burns across 95 percent of his body was saved by skin transplants from his identical twin in a world-first operation, French doctors said Thursday.

Is a common shoulder surgery useless?

November 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—New research casts doubt on the true effectiveness of a common type of surgery used to ease shoulder pain.

Study shows electric bandages can fight biofilm infection, antimicrobial resistance

November 6, 2017
Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have shown - for the first time - that special bandages using weak electric fields to disrupt bacterial biofilm infection can prevent infections, combat antibiotic ...

Obesity increases incidence, severity, costs of knee dislocations

November 3, 2017
A new study of more than 19,000 knee dislocation cases in the U.S. between 2000 and 2012 provides a painful indication of how the nation's obesity epidemic is changing the risk, severity and cost of a traumatic injury.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.