Health

KPH treated 1,000 road crash victims in first six months of 2017

Friday, November 03, 2017

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ROAD crash victims represent the highest number of trauma cases seen at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) for the first six months of the year, according to Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton.

Dr Tufton said 1,000 victims of motor vehicle crashes were treated at the downtown Kingston-based hospital from January to June, while there were more than 300 victims of stabbing and more than 200 people treated for gunshot wounds at the facility during the same period.

“All of these people go to accident and emergency, many of them operating theatres, many of them have to be placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). It is astronomical when you look at the cost of the category called trauma,” Dr Tufton said Wednesday.

He noted that the University of the West Indies (UWI), years ago, mapped the cost to treat an individual that was involved in a motorcycle accident, which amounted to about $16 million.

“When they went through all the areas of rehabilitation, the individual suffered head injuries and the (treatment) cost was somewhere in the region of $16 million. That is one individual (who underwent) CT scan, ICU and all other things associated with hospital stay in a situation where the incident could have been minimised,” he said.

Dr Tufton was speaking at the seventh annual 'On the Road, On the Job' road-safety workshop organised by Grennell's Driving School, held at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in New Kingston. The workshop involved collaboration with the National Safety Council of the United States.

Providing an update on the new Road Traffic Act, Dr Tufton assured that it will be passed in the Houses of Parliament “this year, for sure... as a lot of work has been done on it”.

In July, Transport and Mining Minister Mike Henry said the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel had been working on certain changes and the Bill would be sent to the Lower House thereafter.

Among the features of the new Road Traffic Act are a restriction on handheld devices while driving and a requirement for drivers to have their licence in their possession while operating a vehicle.

In her remarks, Executive Director of the National Road Safety Council Paula Fletcher said there were 49 fewer road fatalities as of October 31, when compared to the same period last year.

“This represents a 15 per cent decrease in road fatalities, which is pretty encouraging... . We are at 272 fatalities when compared to 321 last year,” Fletcher said.

She noted that pedestrians and motorcyclists comprise 58 per cent of the road fatalities, with pillion riders pushing the figure further above that amount.

Fletcher said that more focused effort is needed to reduce the figure, and is urging motorists and other road users to take responsibility for their actions and exercise courtesy on the roads.

Held under the theme 'Achieving Sustainable Development through Leadership, Safety Training, Health and Environment, the workshop provided the latest information and best practices across the globe in relation to road and occupational safety.

— JIS

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