Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Professor calls for trauma units in hospitals

Published:Saturday | December 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Parris Lyew-Ayee, Sr (left), director of the JN Foundation, greets Professor Trevor McCartney (right), deputy dean in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI), during the Cost of Care and Data Book launch, held earlier this month at the UWI Regional Headquarters in St Andrew. Looking on is Parris Lyew-Ayee, Jr, director of Mona Geoinformatics.

Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor Trevor McCartney is calling for the establishment of Type B Trauma Units in public hospitals.

McCartney said that this was very necessary to deal with the proliferation of injuries resulting from violence and road traffic crashes and the associated costs of dealing with victims.

He was speaking at the Cost of Care Study launch, which took place at the UWI Regional Headquarters in Mona, St Andrew, recently.

The deputy dean argued that establishment of the trauma units would free up the intensive care units (ICUs) for other persons suffering from ailments such as cancers, tumours, and vascular diseases.

$12.6b per year

McCartney's call comes against the background of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) 2014 Cost of Care Study, which indicates that the Government spent an estimated $12.6 billion that year to deliver direct and indirect healthcare to persons admitted islandwide with injuries sustained from 25,000 violence-related cases, 13,000 road crashes, and 500 cases of attempted suicide.

He pointed out that patient injury risk profiles captured under the Jamaica hospital-based injuries surveillance system, established in 1999, showed that the annual homicide rate increased from an average of just over eight persons per 100,000 of the population in 1990 to between 65 and 70 in 2017.

Additionally, since 2005, road traffic deaths have averaged between 300 and 400 per annum.

"We have to be able to address the issues to understand that not only is it an increased workload on the (hospital) staff, increased emotional stress (and) increased utilisation of resources, but, more importantly, because (these) injuries require the use of ICUs, persons who have serious illnesses would be unable to (readily) access their care," McCartney said.

"What is required now is to have what we call a Type B Trauma Unit, where we can separate persons who suffer trauma and have them dealt with in a separate entity within an institution to allow persons with (ongoing medical ailments) to have their treatment," McCartney added.

Health Minister Christopher Tufton, who spoke at the launch, said that the prevailing scenario also underscores the need for prevention as opposed to curative interventions.