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Preventability of pre-hospital trauma deaths

Media release (no embargo)
Preventability of pre-hospital trauma deaths in southern New Zealand

In trauma-related deaths in New Zealand, most patients who die before reaching hospital do so from non-survivable injuries, predominantly involving the head and chest.

However, a significant proportion has either potentially survivable or survivable injuries, suggesting that there should be further attempts at improving pre-hospital care as well as improving primary prevention.

Dr James Falconer, from the emergency department of the Canberra Hospital (formerly from Dunedin Public Hospital), studied post-mortems from trauma deaths that occurred in the Otago and Southland regions of New Zealand between January 2000 and December 2004.

Of almost 200 deaths studied, 10% were classified as survivable injuries, 35% were potentially survivable injuries, and 55% were non-survivable injuries.

Motor vehicle accidents accounted for 70% of all fatalities.

The male to female ratio of the study population was 2.4:1 and 74% of those killed between the ages of 16-45 years were male.

Dr Falconer will present the results of the study in poster format at the annual scientific meeting of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, being held this week at the Melbourne Convention Centre November.


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