Increase in medical and trauma incidents this Easter weekend
Providing effective emergency care both in-and-out of hospital medical care to residents was again a high priority for the health workers in the province this past long weekend.
Emergency Medical Services
Our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel had their hands full as they responded to 9 147 incidents, which was more than last year’s 8 156 incidents over the same period.
Of this weekend’s incidents, 31% were of a life-threatening nature and most patients were transported to the Tygerberg, Worcester, and Groote Schuur Hospitals. Most incidents involved chest pains (1 557), respiratory complaints (1 006), weapon assaults (934) obstetric complains (571), and physical assaults (511).
On the province’s roads, EMS responded to 193 incidents which included 84 pedestrians. These were fewer than last year’s 242 incidents which included 101 pedestrians. One of these incidents included a call at 08:57 on Tuesday (11 April) involving a suspected overturned minibus taxi near Stellenbosch Arterial. Unfortunately, three persons died in this crash. EMS transported 11 patients who sustained injuries to various facilities which included Tygerberg, Khayelitsha, Eerste, Delft and Karl Bremer Hospitals. We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the deceased.
With an escort from the South African Police Service (SAPS), our EMS crews also attended to various incidents in the permanent Red Zone neighbourhoods, such as Beacon Valley (84), Tafelsig (72), Hanover Park (42) and Chicago (13). The EMS remains appreciative of the South African Police Services’(SAPS) and other law enforcement agencies' ongoing support, as this helps protect our crews and enables them to care for the most vulnerable patients.
Our Emegency Centres (ECs) and our frontline staff also had no respite this past long Weekend. Trauma cases coupled with non-trauma cases continue to burden our ECs as they are the first point of entry to the health system for many residents. Data from the 49 health facilities across the province recorded 11 010 visits to our Emergency Centres across the province. Of these, 8 076 were not due to trauma but 2 654 were. In terms of trauma presentations:
- 611 involved stabbings;
- 527 involved blunt assaults;
- 465 were accidental injuries;
- 346 involved falls;
- 142 were sport injuries;
- 118 involved bites;
- 94 were motor vehicle injuries;
- 89 were pedestrian injuries;
- 81 involved burns;
- 56 involved self-harm; and
- 53 involved gunshot wounds;
Forensic Pathology Services (FPS)
While our health staff within facilities and in EMS do their utmost to save lives, there is also still the reality of lives lost, especially due to unnatural causes. Our FPS staff recorded the following fatalities:
- Sharp objects – 29
- Gun shot – 30
- Road traffic – 21
- Blunt assault – 4
In many cases these life-threatening conditions are due to violence, leading to other patients having to wait longer, often with potentially detrimental effects to their health. We can help ease the pressure on our healthcare system by considering how our personal choices affect those around us.