McDonald, Archibald. H.; Ali, J.; Mitchell, Derek I. G.; Newnham, Mark S. ; Barnett, Alan; Williams Eric W.; Martin, Allie C.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care
Potential Role for Advanced Trauma Life Support Programme in Improving Trauma Care in Jamaica
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
Data from the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Works, Jamaica, show an increase in road traffic accidents from 7861 in 1991 to 11,010 in 1999. The average number of deaths annually was 380 +/- 48 (SD) while injuries averaged 3320 +/- 262 per year. This represents an injury to death ratio of 8.7 compared with 24.9 for Trinidad and Tobago and 40 for Canada. During the period 1991 to 2000, an average of 796 +/- 159 (SD) murders were committed annually. The number of murders increased by over 280 per cent between the decade of the seventies and the nineties. Data from the trauma registry of the University Hospital of the West Indies showed that 29.6 per cent of all admissions to the surgical ward between January 1998 and December 31, 2000, were due to injuries. There were 97 deaths (3%) during this period and 33 occurred in the Accident and Emergency Department with 70 per cent occurring within 120 minutes of their arrival. The Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) Programme emphasizes the resuscitation and stabilization of injured patients in the first few hours after injury. Most Emergency Departments in Jamaica are staffed by relatively junior medical officers and the low injury to death ratio among victims of motor vehicle accidents may be due to suboptimal care. Introduction of an ATLS programme in Jamaica may reduce the number of preventable deaths and also stimulate interest in trauma care thus increasing preventative measures to decrease the high incidence of trauma in Jamaica.....