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Open Access Research article

Childhood trauma fatality and resource allocation in injury control programs in a developing country

Bahman S Roudsari1*, Mazyar Shadman2 and Mohammad Ghodsi2

Author Affiliations

1 Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

2 Sina Trauma and Surgery Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

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BMC Public Health 2006, 6:117  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-117

Published: 2 May 2006

Abstract

Background

Only a few studies have addressed the trimodal distribution of childhood trauma fatalities in lesser developed countries. We conducted this study to evaluate pre-hospital, Emergency Department (ED) and in-hospital distribution of childhood injury-related death for each mechanism of injury in Tehran, Iran. This information will be used for the efficient allocation of the limited injury control resources in the city.

Methods

We used Tehran's Legal Medicine Organization (LMO) database. This is the largest and the most complete database that receives information about trauma fatalities from more than 100 small and large hospitals in Tehran. We reviewed all the medical records and legal documents of the deceased registered in LMO from September 1999 to September 2000. Demographic and injury related characteristics of the children 15 years old or younger were extracted from the records.

Results

Ten percent of the 4,233 trauma deaths registered in LMO occurred among children 15 years old or younger. Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) (50%), burns (18%), falls (6%) and poisonings (6%) were the most common mechanisms of unintentional fatal injuries. Prehospital, emergency department and hospital deaths comprised 42%, 20% and 37% of the trauma fatalities, respectively. While, more than 80% of fatal injuries due to poisoning and drowning occurred in prehospital setting, 92% of burn-related fatalities happened after hospital admission.

Conclusion

Injury prevention is the single most important solution for controlling trauma fatalities due to poisoning and drowning. Improvements in the quality of care in hospitals and intensive care units might substantially alleviate the magnitude of the problem due to burns. Improvements in prehospital and ED care might significantly decrease MVC and falls-related fatalities.