Background: The proportion of preventable trauma-related deaths may be a reflection of the quality of trauma care in a health institution.
Objective: To classify mortality in trauma patients in the emergency room and to determine the proportion of preventable trauma related mortality in a teaching hospital.
Methods: The records of patients who died in the emergency room following trauma from January 1996 to December 2005 were reviewed. Data extracted from the patients' records included the demographics, the mechanism of injury; and the duration of injury prior to presentation. The Probability of Survival (Ps) was calculated for each patient using the Revised Trauma Score (RTS). The RTS includes three physiologic parameters namely the Glasgow Coma Score [GCS], systolic blood pressure and respiratory rate which were recorded soon after the patient' presentation at the emergency department.
Results: There were 286 patients who died following trauma from January 1996 to December 2006. There was a male: female ratio of 3.4:1. Eighty-one percent were preventable deaths based on the revised trauma score while the panel review considered approximately 22% as preventable. Fifty-nine percent or 168 of the patients arrived in the hospital within six hours of sustaining injury.
Conclusion: Despite access to emergency care within the first six hours (golden hours) the overall survival of our trauma patients is poor. The severity of the injuries, inadequate resuscitation, and missed injuries by medical personal are some of the factors associated with poor outcome of trauma care.