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Bloodshed plummets - Hospitals seeing fewer violent cases due to ZOSO, SOE; numbers from motor vehicle accidents still troubling

Published:Wednesday | October 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
The state of public emergency “could be a contributing factor” to the 29 per cent reduction in persons who showed up at the hospital with stab wounds during the period March to September 2018. – Dwayne Francis

Although not conclusively attributing the drastic plunge in persons being shot and stabbed in the Old Capital to the state of public emergency, chief executive officer of the Spanish Town Hospital, Dwayne Francis, said it was a positive sign that there was less bloodletting.

However, he said the hospital could do well with fewer patients from motor vehicle accidents.

Speaking to The Gleaner yesterday, Francis said, "We cannot definitively say that it is because of the state of emergency in St Catherine (North Police Division) that this is occurring now. I don't think we can prove that that was the cause, because the numbers fluctuate."

He noted, however, that the state of public emergency "could be a contributing factor" to the 29 per cent reduction in persons who showed up at the hospital with stab wounds from March to September 2018, when compared to the same period last year. The institution has seen a 58 per cent decrease in gunshot patients.

"For last year this period, we had recorded 258 cases of stabbings, and for 2018, one hundred and eighty-three. For gunshot wounds, we recorded 144 in 2017 and 60 in 2018," Francis said. "For wounds from blunt objects, during the 2017 period, there were 477 cases, compared to 440 in 2018."

Francis indicated that he would like to see the trend continue.




"It is welcoming to see the changes and we at the hospital would love to see it continue, where cases of stab wounds, gunshot wounds and blunt injuries are reduced as we go forward," he said.

Francis noted, however, that: "The figures for motor vehicle accidents have not changed significantly. Persons from motor vehicle accidents and persons with non-communicable diseases still come in and take up a lot of our bed spaces."

Dr Alwyn Miller, CEO of Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James, where a state of public emergency was implemented, said that incidents of wounding from violent crimes have dropped, but he was particularly concerned about victims of road accidents. There is also a Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) underway in Mount Salem in the parish.

"The amount of victims of crime coming into the hospital has declined since the presence of ZOSO and the state of public emergency. We still have cases as a result of crime coming in, but we have more people injured as a result of motor vehicle accidents, as well as cases of chronic illnesses," said Miller.