Primary objective: The eruption of Al-Aqsa Intifada created a war situation in Palestine, increasing the number of firearms injuries caused by occupying Israeli forces as well as disabling head injuries. No data were available to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and other health organizations on traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Palestine. This study, therefore, sought to determine the causes and outcomes of TBI in patients who were admitted to three hospitals in Nablus, Palestine.
Research design: Retrospective review of medical records and contacts with patients and/or caregivers.
Methods and procedures: The medical records of patients who were diagnosed with TBI (n=312) and admitted to any one of the three hospitals in 2006 and 2007 were reviewed. Data were also obtained from follow-up home visits and telephone calls with consenting patients and/or caregivers.
Main outcomes and results: The major causes of TBI were assault (33%), falls (32.1%), road traffic crashes (29.8%) and impacts from heavy objects (3.2%). Gunshot wounds are a major cause of head injury in Palestine.
Conclusions: The study shows that assault with firearms is the most frequent cause of TBI in this population and that patients with head injuries due to assault have poorer outcomes at discharge than those injured in other ways.