Childhood and adolescent trauma in Pietermaritzburg is a neglected sub-epidemic within a larger epidemic and warrants a dedicated service
Background: This study reviews our experience with paediatric trauma to help plan and strengthen ongoing strategies to deal with trauma in our region.
Methods: All children and adolescents less than 18 years of age who were admitted to our centre following trauma between December 2012 and October 2020 were reviewed.
Results: Over the 8-year period, 2 091 children were admitted with trauma to Grey’s Hospital. There were 1 479 (71%) male patients, median age: 10 years. One thousand four hundred and fifty-eight (70%) patients were referral from rural regions. In 1 597 (76%) patients, the mechanism of injury was blunt trauma. A total of 387 (19%) patients underwent a surgical intervention, whilst 1 641 (78%) patients were managed non-operatively. In 63 patients, management records were missing. Multiple patients required multiple surgical procedures. A total of 144 patients had a laparotomy, 70 a soft tissue debridement procedure, 40 an orthopaedic procedure, 53 a neurosurgical procedure, which included 37 patients who underwent craniotomy, and 18 patients underwent a fasciotomy for compartment syndrome. There were 82 patients who required miscellaneous procedures. A total of 213 (10%) patients required ICU admission. There were 48 (2.3%) deaths.
Conclusion: The volume of child and adolescent trauma managed is significant and suggests that a dedicated paediatric trauma service in the region is warranted. It is hoped that future partnering with appropriate stakeholders will allow this service to continue to mature and provide leadership in all aspects of care of injured children in the region.
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