Pre-hospital care in Nigeria: a country without emergency medical services.

Department of Surgery, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital Ilorin, Nigeria.
Nigerian journal of clinical practice (Impact Factor: 0.41). 04/2009; 12(1):29-33.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Efficient pre-hospital transport (emergency medical services, EMS) is associated with improved outcomes in road traffic injuries (RTI). This study aims to discover possible interventions in the existing mode of transport.
Persons bringing all RTI victims to the Emergency room (ER) over a 4-year period and the injury arrival intervals were noted prospectively.
There were 2,624 patients (1,886 males and 738 females); only 2,046 (78%) had clear documentations of three categories of persons bringing victims to ER: Relatives (REL, 1,081, 52.83%); Police/Federal Road Safety Corps (P/F, 827, 40.42%) and Bystanders (BS, 138, 6.74%). No intervention was provided during transport: Within 1 hour, 986 victims (48.2% of 2,046) arrived ERbrought by P/F (448, 21.9%), REL (439, 21.5% of 2,046), and BS (99, 4.8%). These figures, in each instance, represent 40.6 % of total victims brought by REL; 54.2% by P/F and 71.7% by BS. However, after 6 hours, REL were the main active group as they brought 94.5% (359 of 380) patients of this period. In 91 victims (4.4%) the injury arrival time was not captured.
This study has identified three groups of persons involved in pre-hospital transport with nearly 50% getting to ER within 1 hour without any intervention or prior notification of ER. Absence of EMS obscures pre-hospital death records. The P/F responsible for only 40% of transport should be trained and equipped to offer basic trauma life support (BTLS). The REL and BS (both responsible for 60% of transport) represent a pool of volunteers for BTLS to be trained.

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