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TitleExperience with spinal injuries in New South Wales
AuthorsSelecki BR, Berry G, Kwok B, Mandryk JA, Ring IT, Sewell MF, Simpson DA, Vanderfield GK
TypeJournal Article
AbstractTwo hundred and two patients with acute and severe spinal injuries were treated in various hospitals in New South Wales during 1977 and 1978. Of these, 132 (65%) were cervical, 60 (30%) thoracic, eight (4%) lumbar and two were inadequately recorded. A major concurrent injury to the head was present in every third patient, to the chest in every fourth patient, and to the limbs in every fifth patient. The outcomes of patients reported in this series make it one of the worst in the literature. Sixty-nine (34%) patients died in hospital; of the 133 survivors, only 22 (11%) have resumed work, the remainder being partially or totally disabled. It is estimated that another 302 patients died before arrival in hospital. In country areas, the time lags between accident and ambulance notification, and between notification and arrival at hospital, were uncertain in many cases, but periods in excess of 2 hours were recorded in 28 (14%). One-man ambulances or private vehicles were used in at least 43 cases (21%) After admission, 139 patients were transferred to other hospitals for definitive treatment, arriving after an average time of 22 h (median time 9 h), for such patients, the original hospital presumably served as a first aid station A case control study suggests that preventable delay in transport, inappropriate treatment, and failure to correct shock may have been causative factors in 16 deaths in this series Reduction of the time lag between accident and institution of definitive treatment will save lives, and may avoid some crippling neurological deficits. To achieve this, there is an urgent and overdue need to integrate ambulance and hospital services and to establish efficient multidisciplinary trauma centres.
Journal TitleAustralian & New Zealand Journal of Surgery
Journal Volume (Issue)56(7)
Page Range567-576
Page Count10
Notesavailable from CASR library on request

Selecki BR, Berry G, Kwok B, Mandryk JA, Ring IT, Sewell MF, Simpson DA, Vanderfield GK (1986). Experience with spinal injuries in New South Wales. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Surgery, 56(7), 567-576.