Background: Road traffic crashes are responsible for a vast amount of death and disability in developing countries. This study uses a bottom up, micro-costing approach to determine the cost of road traffic related crashes in South Africa.
Methods: Using the data from one hundred consecutive RTC related admissions to a regional hospital in South Africa we performed a bottom up costing study. To calculate costs patients were reviewed every 48 h and all interventions were recorded for each individual patient. Prices of interventions were obtained from hospital pricelists. A total cost was calculated on an individual basis.
Results: The total cost of in-patient care for these patients was US $6,98,850. Upper limb injuries were the most expensive, and the total cost increased with the number of body regions injured. The biggest expenditure was on ward overheads ($2,81,681). Ninety operations were performed - the total cost of theatre time was $1,48,230 and the cost of orthopaedic implants was $1,26,487.
Conclusion: The cost of care of a RTC victim is significant. In light of the high numbers of RTC victims admitted over the course of the year this is a significant cost burden for a regional hospital to bear. This cost must be taken into account when allocating hospital budgets.
Keywords: Bottom-up costing; Cost; Developing country; Micro-costing; Road traffic crashes.
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