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Four weeks after the earthquake in Kashmir, Pakistan, multidisciplinary surgical teams were organized within the United Kingdom to help treat disaster victims who had been transferred to Rawalpindi. The work of these teams between 05-17 November 2005 is reviewed, and experiences and lessons learned are presented. Two self-sufficient teams consisting of orthopedic, plastic surgical, anesthetic, and theatre staff were deployed consecutively over a two-week period. A trauma unit was set up in a donated ward within a private ophthalmological hospital in Rawalpindi. Seventy-eight patients with a mean age of 23 years were treated: more than half (40) were <16 years of age. Fifty-two patients only had lower limb injuries, 18 upper limb injuries, and eight combined lower and upper limb. The most common types of injuries were: (1) tibial fractures (n=24), with the majority being open grade 3B injuries (n=22); (2) femoral fractures (n=11); and (3) forearm fractures (n=9). Almost half (n=34) of the fractures were open injuries requiring soft tissue cover. Over 12 days, 293 operations were performed (average 24.4 per day). A total of 202 examinations under anesthesia, washouts, and debridements were performed. The majority of wounds required multiple washouts prior to definitive procedures. Thirty-four definitive orthopedic procedures (fixations) and 57 definitive plastic procedures were performed. Definitive orthopedic procedures included 15 circular frame fixations of long bones, nine of which required acute shortening and five open reduction and internal fixation of long bones. Definitive plastic procedures included 21 skin grafts, four amputations, 11 revisions of amputations, 20 regional flaps, and one free flap. A joint ortho-plastic approach was key to the treatment of the spectrum of injuries encountered. Only four patients required fresh amputations. Twenty patients may have required amputation without the use of ring fixators and soft tissue reconstruction. Having self-sufficient teams along with their own equipment and supplies also was mandatory in order not to put further demand on already scarce resources. However, mobilizing such teams logistically was difficult, and therefore, an organization consisting of willing volunteers for future efforts has been established.
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July – August 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Introduction: Four weeks after the earthquake in Kashmir, Pakistan, multi-
disciplinary surgical teams were organized within the United Kingdom to
help treat disaster victims who had been transferred to Rawalpindi. The work
of these teams between 05–17 November 2005 is reviewed, and experiences
and lessons learned are presented.
Methods: Two self-sufficient teams consisting of orthopedic, plastic surgical,
anesthetic, and theatre staff were deployed consecutively over a two-week
period. A trauma unit was set up in a donated ward within a private ophthal-
mological hospital in Rawalpindi.
Results: Seventy-eight patients with a mean age of 23 years were treated:
more than half (40) were <16 years of age. Fifty-two patients only had lower
limb injuries, 18 upper limb injuries, and eight combined lower and upper
limb. The most common types of injuries were: (1) tibial fractures (n = 24),
with the majority being open grade 3B injuries (n = 22); (2) femoral fractures
(n = 11); and (3) forearm fractures (n = 9). Almost half (n = 34) of the frac-
tures were open injuries requiring soft tissue cover.
Over 12 days, 293 operations were performed (average 24.4 per day). A
total of 202 examinations under anesthesia, washouts, and debridements were
performed. The majority of wounds required multiple washouts prior to
definitive procedures. Thirty-four definitive orthopedic procedures (fixations)
and 57 definitive plastic procedures were performed. Definitive orthopedic
procedures included 15 circular frame fixations of long bones, nine of which
required acute shortening and five open reduction and internal fixation of
long bones. Definitive plastic procedures included 21 skin grafts, four ampu-
tations, 11 revisions of amputations, 20 regional flaps, and one free flap.
Conclusions: A joint ortho-plastic approach was key to the treatment of the
spectrum of injuries encountered. Only four patients required fresh amputa-
tions. Twenty patients may have required amputation without the use of ring
fixators and soft tissue reconstruction. Having self-sufficient teams along with
their own equipment and supplies also was mandatory in order not to put fur-
ther demand on already scarce resources. However, mobilizing such teams
logistically was difficult, and therefore, an organization consisting of willing
volunteers for future efforts has been established.
Rajpura A, Boutros I, Khan T, Khan SA: Pakistan earthquake: Experiences of
a multidisciplinary surgical team. Prehosp Disaster Med 2010;25(4):361–367.
Department of Orthopedics, Hope Hospital,
Salford, UK
Mr. Asim Rajpura
6 Manthorpe Ave.
Greater Manchester UK
M28 2AZ
No benefits in any form have been received or will
be received from a commercial party or individual
related directly or indirectly to the subject of this
Keywords: earthquake; Ilizarov; Kashmir;
limb reconstruction; multidisciplinary;
orthopedic; Pakistan; plastic surgery
ORIF = open reduction and internal fixation
Received: 12 August 2009
Accepted: 28 September 2009
Revised: 05 October 2009
Web publication: 26 July 2010
Pakistan Earthquake: Experiences of a
Multidisciplinary Surgical Team
Asim Rajpura, MRCS; Ihab Boutros, MRCS; Tahir Khan, FRCS (T&O);
Sohail Ali Khan, FRCS (T&O)
On 08 October 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck
the northern areas of Pakistan and India.1The epicenter was located approxi-
mately 19 km northeast of Muzaffarabad in Pakistan. The North West Frontier
Province of Pakistan and Pakistani-administered Kashmir were the most severe-
ly affected areas. Relief agency data estimate that >73,000 lives were lost, 128,000
individuals were injured, and >3.5 million people were left homeless.2The earth-
quake decimated the local infrastructure, with more than 50% of the healthcare
facilities in the area being destroyed, and a further 25% damaged.
Prehospital and Disaster Medicine Vol. 25, No. 4
362 Pakistan Earthquake
ing room, and an office. A separate dressing clinic also was set
up for changes of dressings that did not require anesthesia.
Local anesthetic and scrub staff were available, but staff from
the team carried out all operating. A plastic surgical consultant
from New Zealand also joined the team for the second week.
Patient Demographics
The mean value for the ages was 23 years (range: 6
months–80 years). More than half (n = 40) were <16 years,
with 10 patients <5 years. Only eight patients were >60
years old. The age and sex distribution of the patients are in
Figure 1. Approximately 60% were female.
Nineteen patients had minor injuries that did not
require further management, and therefore, were dis-
charged. These included ankle and upper limb fractures
amenable to conservative management with casts. One
patient needed transfer to a pediatric intensive care unit due
to severe sepsis from extensive muscle necrosis.
Two-thirds of the injuries encountered were lower limb
(n = 52), 18 upper limb, and eight combined upper and lower
limb (Figure 2). The most common injury encountered were
tibial fractures (n = 24), of which 92% were Gustillo-
Anderson grade IIIb (Figure 3). The majority were immobi-
lized in plaster, while others had monolateral external fixators
applied. None had received definitive orthopedic fixation or
plastic surgical treatment to provide soft tissue cover. All
open fractures required multiple washouts and debridement
due to infection prior to receiving definitive treatment.
Femoral fractures were the second most common injury
encountered, with 64% in children. The four adult femoral
fractures had been managed by open reduction and internal
fixation (ORIF), three using unlocked Kunscher nails and
one with dynamic compression plating. The two pediatric
cases who received internal fixation were treated with small
fragment dynamic compression plating. These procedures
were carried out previously in field hospitals, and therefore,
exact details of treatment and management were not avail-
able. Two of the fixations were infected. The remaining
pediatric femoral fractures had been immobilized in hip
spicas. The position of the fractures in hip spicas was not
perfect, but accepted at this stage, as callus was visible.
Open osteoclasis would have been ideally required, but
remodeling was expected.
The most common upper limb injuries seen were fore-
arm fractures, followed by humeral and hand injuries. The
majority of these (65%) were closed fractures. Examples of
open injuries seen included an open Galeazzi fracture, open
supracondylar fractures, open mid-shaft humeral and
radius/ulna fractures, and open carpal disruptions.
Twelve patients only suffered soft tissue injuries.
Examples included an 8-year-old child with truncal burns
requiring split skin grafting, and patients with sacral pres-
sure sores and lower limb soft tissue defects.
Overall, almost half (n = 34) of the fractures seen were
open injuries that required soft tissue cover.
Procedures Performed
A total of 293 procedures were carried out over 12 operat-
ing days (average 24.4 per day). The setup of the operating
The scale of the disaster overwhelmed local healthcare
systems. Several international agencies such as the
International Committee of the Red Cross set up field hos-
pitals in the affected areas to deal with the immediate after-
math of the earthquake.
Four weeks after the earthquake, a team of British
orthopedic and plastic surgeons was assembled to assist
with the aid effort. The aim was to attempt to limit mor-
bidity and mortality from the complications of the injuries
in the survivors, as demonstrated by the third peak in the
trimodal distribution of death post-major injury.3,4 To date,
studies mainly have described the treatment of patients in
the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.5–10 The expe-
riences from this expedition dealing with the delayed com-
plications of the injuries and highlight lessons learned that
could be applied to future efforts are reported.
Team Composition
The nature of the injuries being reported necessitated a
joint ortho-plastic surgical approach. Thus, two teams com-
prised of two consultant orthopedic surgeons, two senior
plastic surgery registrars, two consultant anaesthetists, one
junior surgical trainee, two scrub nurses, and one operating
department assistant were formed. The teams were
deployed for two consecutive weeks starting 05 November
2005. Orthopedic staff chosen for the task had specialist
experience in limb reconstruction. The plastic surgeons also
were experienced in the management of large soft tissue
defects. The teams were formed of staff from northwestern
England. They were not part of any coordinated national or
international effort.
With the help of a non-governmental organization, the
Pakistan Red Crescent Society, and UK-based charity
Islamic Help, a makeshift trauma ward and theatre complex
had been setup within a privately owned ophthomoligcal
hospital in Rawalpindi, Al Shifa. Basic x-ray and patholo-
gy services were available on-site and a mobile theatre x-ray
image intensifier was provided by the charitable organiza-
tion. This was the group’s base during the two-week mis-
sion. The complex orthopedic, plastic, and anesthetic
equipment was donated and/or borrowed from the respec-
tive base hospitals in the UK.
The patient population consisted of injured survivors
who were transported to the capital from areas near the
epicenter. A local sports field was used as a reception facil-
ity for these patients. From there, local healthcare teams
triaged the patients and 97 patients with limb injuries were
sent to the trauma ward. All patients had received basic care
in field hospitals set-up in the disaster area.
Documentation regarding their injuries and treatment
to date not always was available. Initial tasks included triage
and creating basic case records and a database of patients.
Patients and injuries were photographed and assigned case
note numbers to aid identification and team handover.
All operating was carried out in a theatre complex situated
within the makeshift trauma ward. This consisted of an “open
plan theatre suite” with three operating tables, each separated
by Perspex dividers allowing concurrent operations to take
place, a recovery room, instrument sterilization room, chang-
July – August 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Rajpura, Boutros, Khan, et al 363
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 1—Distribution of patients by age and sex
(Male mean age = 24.9 years; n = 30; Female mean age
= 22.9 years; n = 48)
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 2—Injury types encountered
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 3—Injury types encountered (continued)
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 4—Theatre setup
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Table 1—Orthopedic procedures performed Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Table 2—Plastic surgical procedures performed
Procedure Number
Examination under anaesthesia,
washouts and debridements 202
Manipulation under anaesthesia 5
Application of Hip Spica 2
K wiring of fractures 7
Open reduction and internal fixation of
long bones 5
Circular frame fixation without shortening 6
Circular frame fixation with acute
shortening 9
Total number of patients involved 60
Procedure Number Performed
Split Skin Grafts 21
Amputation 4
Revision of Amputation 11
Fasciocutaneous Flaps 17
Musculocutaneous Flaps 3 (1 Gastrocnemius, 1 Soleus,
1 Tensor Fascia Lata)
Free Flaps (Rectus) 1
Total number of patients
involved 46
Prehospital and Disaster Medicine Vol. 25, No. 4
364 Pakistan Earthquake
She made a good post-operative recovery and began
mobilizing with partial weight bearing.
Case 3: ORIF and Free Flap
A 16-year-old male was admitted with a compound left
ankle fracture that was cleaned and had a cast applied in
the field hospital. He underwent initial examination and
debridement under anesthesia, which revealed a 15 x 6 cm
defect medially. This was repeated two days later. The loca-
tion and size of the defect necessitated a f ree flap to gain
tissue cover. A free Rectus Abdominis flap and open reduc-
tion and internal fixation of the fracture was carried out
three days later (Figure 10). The flap took successfully and
the patient went on to make a good recovery.
room allowed three concurrent operations to be carried out
with the aid of local anesthetic and scrub staff (Figure 4).
This allowed for the high throughput of cases. A break-
down of procedures carried out is in Tables 1 and 2. Thirty-
four definitive orthopedic procedures (fixations) and 57
definitive plastics procedures were performed. Nineteen
procedures were performed jointly in which fractures were
fixed with external fixation followed by skin cover.
Initial work involved repeat debridement of grossly
infected open injuries that had been left untreated for four
weeks. Definitive procedures were performed on these
patients mainly during the second week.
Case 1: Ilizarov and Local Flap
A 6-year-old-girl had been admitted with open mid-shaft
left tibial fracture (Figure 5). She had undergone initial
debridement and application of a monolateral external fix-
ator prior to transfer to this unit.
Repeat x-rays showed an area of bone loss and
osteomyelitis (Figure 5). Examination under anesthesia
revealed an 8 x 6 cm soft tissue defect with exposed bone.
She underwent repeat debridement and eventual acute
shortening after excision of sequestrum. A fasciocutaneous
flap then was fashioned out to cover the soft tissue defect
and an Ilizarov frame was applied (Figure 6).
The distal tip of the flap failed to take, and therefore, was
advanced a week later. She made a good post-operative recovery.
Case 2: Taylor Spatial Frame and Local Flap
A 35-year-old woman was admitted with a compound,
comminuted left distal tibial fracture. She had undergone
initial stabilization with an ankle, bridging, monolateral,
external fixator (Figure 7).
She underwent initial examination under anesthesia and
debridement of the wound. The decision was made to per-
form an acute shortening and application of a Taylor
Spatial Frame. A fasciocutaneous flap was fashioned to
cover the soft tissue defect at the same time as the f rame
was applied (Figure 8).
Postoperative x-rays were taken and deformity correc-
tion was carried out using the online software accompany-
ing the Taylor Spatial Frame (Figure 9).
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 5—Left: Initial post-operative x-rays, Right: x-
rays taken upon arrival
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 6—Top: Pre-operative photo showing soft tissue
defect; Middle: Intra-operative photo while fashioning
the local flap; Bottom: Post-operative photo after
Ilizarov frame applied
July – August 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Rajpura, Boutros, Khan, et al 365
rotational flap to gain soft tissue cover. A Tensor Fascia
Lata flap was carried out two days later (Figure 11b).
Drains and stitches were removed after two weeks. The
flap had taken successfully at this point and the patient was
discharged three days later.
No anesthetic complications were encountered during the
12 days. Early post-operative surgical complications main-
ly were related to plastic surgical procedures carried out to
provide soft tissue cover to compound f ractures. This
included one fasciocutaneous flap that necrosed complete-
ly and required revision, and a further three fasciocutaneous
flaps whose distal tips underwent necrosis. Two of these
required surgical debridement and advancement, which
were successful. Two amputations, one below knee, and one
symes amputation, suffered wound breakdown requiring
Case 4: Myocutaneous Flap
A 60-year-old woman was admitted to the unit after hav-
ing undergone a left above knee amputation secondary to
crush injury. This had rendered her bed bound and she
went on to develop a grade IV pressure sore over her right
greater trochanter. She underwent initial examination and
debridement under anesthesia, which left a 15 x 10 cm
defect over the trochanteric area (Figure 11a).
She underwent repeat examination under anesthesia
three days later and the decision was made to carry out a
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 7—Pre-operative x-rays, Right: Soft tissue
defect on the anteromedial aspect of the left leg.
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 9—Post-operative x-rays prior to final correc-
tion using computer aid
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 11a—Pre-operative appearance of the pressure
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 8—Left: Pre-operative planning of the FC flap,
Right: Post-operative photo showing Taylor Spatial
Frame and Fasciocutaneous Flap
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 10—Left: Pre-operative planning for rectus
flap, Right: Post-operative result
Rajpura © 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Figure 11b—Post-operative appearance of the pressure
Prehospital and Disaster Medicine Vol. 25, No. 4
366 Pakistan Earthquake
complicates further fracture management and significantly
delays recovery. With the use of ring fixators, more complex
injuries that had to undergo early amputation potentially
may have been salvageable.
All of the operative work was performed by members of
the team. However, the team did receive anesthetic and
nursing (scrub and ward) backup from local staff. This bal-
ance was essential; as it gave team clinical autonomy but
also helped provide peri-operative care for patients and to
train the local staff that were not always familiar with the
surgical techniques used.
However, this setup did lack physiotherapists and occu-
pational therapists, which will have hampered the ultimate
outcomes of the management. The team has now recruited
such allied health professionals to help with post-operative
management during future projects.
Another limitation of this setup was provisions for fol-
low-up of these patients. The majority of the patients had
been transferred from villages to the north of Islamabad
that stood in ruins. Once discharged from the unit, they
were transferred to emergency housing camps that had
been setup around Islamabad. Following the first two
teams, three smaller teams were sent on a weekly basis to
staff the trauma unit and provide continued care for the
remaining patients and short-term follow-up for the dis-
charged patients. Unfortunately, in the longer term, it is
estimated that half of the patients have been lost to follow
up, as they no longer had fixed residences where they could
be contacted.
Starting April 2006, a further three teams were sent on
a monthly basis to Ayub Medical College Hospital in
Abbottabad in the North West Frontier Province. This is
located in the region from which the majority of the
patients originally came. Their aim was to attempt to locate
and provide long-term treatment and follow-up for earth-
quake victims, irrespective of whether they originally were
not treated by the team. Efforts are continuing to setup a
limb reconstruction unit in Abbottabad in conjunction with
local medical staff.
Cultural sensitivity and local infrastructure analysis will
assist a medical team in providing appropriate surgical
interventions. Hence, collaboration with the local teams
who know the people, the area, and the problems was
essential to this effort. A multidisciplinary team effort in an
earthquake situation is much more likely to succeed in limb
salvage. The majority of the injuries involved limbs and
were open with soft tissue loss.
The number of cases requiring surgical intervention is
likely to be more than expected, and the team should be
prepared to work flexibly, and in collaboration with other
healthcare professionals. It also is important to have a des-
ignated lead person who can liaise with the local officials
and may be familiar with local circumstances.
The long-term welfare of the patients also must be con-
sidered and arrangements must be made to have the
patients followed-up safely. It is possible that techniques
used by the specialist teams are not familiar to the local
medical community.
operative debridement. Split skin grafting was required to
gain wound closure for the below-knee amputation.
The aim of this project was to limit both morbidity and
mortality in survivors of the earthquake who had suffered
severe limb trauma through limb salvage operations and by
addressing the third peak in mortality seen in trauma
patients as described by Trunkey et al.4This peak is thought
to be due to late complications of the injuries sustained,
such as sepsis. This especially was relevant in the patient
population due to the high proportion of open fractures. In
order to accomplish the aims, resources were mobilized
from the UK. The self-reliant teams that travelled to
Pakistan consisted of plastic/orthopedic surgeons, junior
medical staff, anesthetists as well as scrub staff and operat-
ing room staff. The specialist equipment required by the
surgeons/anesthetists and disposables were brought by the
teams in order to avoid demand on already scarce local resources.
As demonstrated by the case mix presented, a joint
ortho-plastic approach was key to the success of this mis-
sion. Having arrived four weeks after the earthquake struck,
the majority of the cases encountered were infected, com-
plex, and/or open fractures that had only received initial
first aid treatment and primitive stabilization. Therefore, in
order to fulfill the objective of limb salvage, a team special-
ized in limb reconstruction, (both bony and soft tissue) was
essential. Of the 66 patients with bony injuries, only four
had to undergo fresh amputation and 11 revisions of ampu-
tations were carried out. Therefore, the amputation rate was
6% (overall 22% including revisions amputations). Without
surgeons skilled in limb reconstruction using ring fixators
and soft tissue reconstruction, a possible further 20 patients
would have required amputation.
Many individual surgeons had arrived before the team
and had done an admirable job. Unfortunately, due to the
limited resources available, complexity of the injury pat-
terns encountered, and perhaps the lack of experience in
some cases, some cases were encountered that had been
managed less than ideally, e.g., transphyseal medullary nail
fixation of fractures and inappropriate flaps with loss of
valuable tissue. Therefore, a team-based multidisciplinary
approach, along with specialized equipment such as ring
fixators, was necessary to tackle the complex cases encoun-
tered, which would have required tertiary care anywhere in
the world.
Mobilizing teams such in the immediate aftermath
logistically is challenging, and it took four weeks to gather
local information, setup a base and collect the essential
equipment for the team in this project. As suggested by
Laverick et al, a central register of future volunteers, includ-
ing surgeons and allied health professionals that would be
willing and available at short notice, would enhance the
response time in future efforts.11 In light of the large pro-
portion of open f ractures with soft tissue loss encountered,
earlier arrival especially could have helped this subset of
patients by providing quicker appropriate soft tissue man-
agement, potentially reducing rates of osteomyelitis that
July – August 2010 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Rajpura, Boutros, Khan, et al 367
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... In contrary, external fixation and debridement constituted the bulk of the cases in a similar study by Thapa SS et al, 9 possibly because of the type of fracture cases received in their center. In earthquake related disaster situations, external fixation is vital for proper management of fractures and soft tissue stabilization and the ratio of external fixation to ORIF mainly rely on the time of arrival of disaster response team at the earthquake site, supported by McIntyre T et al, 15 on Haiti earthquake and Rajpura A et al, 16 on Pakistan earthquake. However, in a review article by MacKenzie et al, 13 on average 12% of fractures were stabilized by external fixation and the use of external fixation vary from less than 2% to more than 30%. ...
... Similarly in a study by Shrestha JM et al,14 22% of the total operations were for soft tissue injury and the most common surgery was SSG 39 (34%). Skin grafting after soft tissue injury was a common procedure ranging from 22% to 43%, Rajpura A et al, 16 and Clover AJ et al. 19 Similar findings in studies by Zhang J et al, 20 and Wolf Y et al. 21 For non-salvageable limbs, amputation rate in our study was 3 (1.7%). ...
Full-text available
Introduction: An earthquake is an intense shaking of earth's surface which is caused by movements in earth's outermost layer. The earthquake of 25th April 2015, with a magnitude of 7.8 richter scale with its major aftershock on 12th May 2015 of 7.3 richter scale claimed around 8,962 lives across several districts of Nepal with 22,302 injuries. In this study we tried to figure out various surgical cases and the surgical procedures performed in a tertiary care hospital during an earthquake disaster. Methods: This study was a descriptive cross-sectional study of hospital data on all admitted surgical cases during an earthquake disaster. A total of 238 earthquake victims brought to emergency department of Kathmandu Medical College Teaching Hospital , a tertiary care center, from 26th April 2015 to 7th Jun 2015, for the period of 42 days were included. Those brought dead and discharged after primary treatments were excluded. Data obtained were entered and analysed in Microsoft Excel 2010. Results: Among 238 patients enrolled, 122 (51%) were male and 116 (49%) female with male to female ratio of 1.05:1. Age group (31-60 years) with an average age of 45 years were encountered most frequently 110 (46%) with the maximum number of patient burden from Sindhupalchowk district 80 (33.6%). Orthopedic surgery 185 (76%) appeared to be the most frequent followed by neurosurgery, plastic surgery, general surgery and dental surgery. Conclusions: In natural disaster like earthquakes, traumatic injuries are very common and thereby various surgical procedures especially ortho-plastic are the domain of treatment modalities. Disaster preparedness and combined surgical team effort needs to be focused to reduce both mortality and morbidity.
... With the exception of one article, closed fractures resulted more frequently than open fractures. [5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20] Given the state of the collected data, it is impossible to establish if there is any statistically significant prevalence of a type of fracture or of an anatomical region affected among trauma patients resulting from any given earthquake. This contradicts the understanding that upper and lower extremity injuries are more frequent during nightly/early morning than daytime earthquakes, respectively 6,21 (Table 2). ...
... With the exception of two studies, all articles reported that fractures affected more lower than upper limbs. [6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]17,[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34] No association was found between short time-to-treatment and lower number of complications; amputation rate; or use of EF rather than ORIF. Qualitatively, it is possible to define that there are more open fractures during daytime hours than at night. ...
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Methods: The systematic review was conducted in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). A comprehensive search strategy was developed to identify all publications relating to earthquakes and the orthopedic treatment in adult patients. The following databases were searched: PubMed (Medline; US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, Maryland USA), Ovid (Ovid Technologies; New York, New York USA), Web of Science (Thomson Reuters; New York, New York USA), and The Cochrane Library (The Cochrane Collaboration; Oxford, United Kingdom). Results: The searches identified 4,704 articles: 4,445 after duplicates were removed. The papers were screened for title and abstract and 65 out of those were selected for full-text analysis. The quality of data does not permit a standard-of-care (SOC) to be defined. Scarcity and poor quality of the data collected also may suggest a low level of accountability of the activity of the international hospital teams. Qualitatively, it is possible to define that there are more open fractures during daytime hours than at night. Excluding data about open and closed fractures, for all types of injuries, the results underline that the higher the impact of the earthquake, as measured by Richter Magnitude Scale (RMS), the higher is the number of injuries. Discussion Regarding orthopedic injuries during earthquakes, special attention must be paid to the management of the lower limbs most frequently injured. Spinal cord involvement following spine fractures is an important issue: this underlines how a neurosurgeon on a disaster team could be an important asset during the response. Conservative treatment for fractures, when possible, should be encouraged in a disaster setting. Regarding amputation, it is important to underline how the response and the quality of health care delivered is different from one team to another. This study shows how important it is to improve, and to require, the accountability of international disaster teams in terms of type and quality of health care delivered, and to standardize the data collection. Bortolin M , Morelli I , Voskanyan A , Joyce NR , Ciottone GR . Earthquake-related orthopedic injuries in adult population: a systematic review. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(2):1-8 .
... Disaster aid responds to an unexpected and immediate need for medical aid for large numbers of people due to natural disasters and is, therefore, in certain aspects different from mainstream medical volunteering. Numerous 'lessons learned' accounts [18][19][20][21][22][23] convey not only specialty-related experiences and harmful consequences of aid attempts [24], such as medical errors, the impossible follow-up of cases and staff distress. They also highlight repeatedly the importance of organisation, cooperation, and logistics, and the difficulties faced by the enormous influx of well-meaning unsolicited help hampering relief efforts. ...
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It has been argued that much of international medical volunteering is done for the wrong reasons, in that local people serve as a means to meet volunteers’ needs, or for the right reasons but ignorance and ill-preparedness harm the intended beneficiaries, often without volunteers’ grasp of the damage caused. The literature on ethical concerns in medical volunteering has grown tremendously over the last years highlighting the need for appropriate guidelines. These same concerns, however, and an appreciation of the reasons why current aid paradigms are flawed, can serve as indicators on how to change existing practices to ensure a better outcome for those who are in need of help. Such paradigm change envisages medical assistance in the spirit of solidarity, social justice, equality, and collegial collaboration.
... Compound fractures may be able to be managed by fixation. Open fractures are typically considered lethal unless they are treated because the open limb is exposed to infection (Rajpura et al. 2010). Under ideal circumstances, treatment is surgical fixation followed by a recovery period. ...
The many needs that arise during and immediately following a disaster normally stretch local and national governments and humanitarian organisations to the limit. Both human and financial resources are often inadequate to meet the requirements of medical care, clean water, sufficient food and shelter for victims of the disaster. How, then, can one justify conducting research during or shortly after disaster strikes? People caught in the wake of a disaster are rendered vulnerable by a variety of factors, including injuries, fear, grief, inadequate food and water, loss of housing, and disease outbreaks that sometimes accompany disasters. In addition, an entire population or segments of the population may have been vulnerable to some extent before the disaster struck: they may have food insecurity, lack of potable water, inadequate health care, or be at risk from endemic diseases. Therefore, many people are rendered doubly or even triply vulnerable in the wake of a disaster. The ethical question that arises is whether the vulnerability of victims of a disaster militates against conducting research during or soon after the event.
У монографії представлено систему організації та координації подолання медико-санітарних наслідків великомасштабних надзвичайних ситуацій природного характпру, у т.ч. у разі залучення медичних сил і засобів іноземних держав. Значну увагу приділено аналізу здоров'я постраждалого від природного лиха населення і показано потреби у системі охорони здоров'я під час подолання медико-санітарних наслідків стихіного лиха. Досліджено особливості екстреної хірургічної допомоги під час великомасштабних катастроф. Запропоновано організаційну схему Передового хірургічного загону територіального рівня Державної служби медицини катастроф України. Наведено класифікацйні ознаки НС міжнародного рівня для системи охорони здоров'я потенційно небезпечних територій України. Науково обгрунтовано систему координації та взаємодії національної та міжнародної допомоги при катастрофах природного характеру. Розраховано на організаторів охорони здоров'я, медичних працівників, діяльність яких пов'язана з організацією подолання медико-санітарних наслідків назвичайних ситуацій.
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Objective: With regard to medical doctors and nurses who had participated in international disaster response(IDR), the purposes of the study were as follows:①To identify the factors related to recognition of the need for "surgical nursing practice" in IDR provided by Japan ②To clarify the role of Surgical Nurse in future IDR. Method: The survey was conducted between June 20, 2016 and July 31, 2016 targeting medical professionals (doctors and nurses) with experience in IDR. We distributed self-report questionnaires to authors and coauthors of academic papers that described studies examining IDR and been published within the preceding 5 years. Results: We received responses from 54 of the 110 participants (recovery rate: 49.1%). Data for 51 subjects (valid response rate: 94.4%) were ultimately analyzed. “Organization (Governmental Organization [GO] group and Nongovernmental Organizations [NGO] group) at the time of dispatch” differed significantly recognition of the need for "surgical nursing practice" in IDR. Discussion: "Organization at the time of dispatch;" was the main factor related to recognition of the need for "surgical nursing practice" in IDR. GO group recognized that the role of Surgical Nurse in IDR was not only nursing care through the perioperative period but also disaster nursing care to perform a wide variety of activities will be required in the provision of medical support following international disasters. NGO group recognized the importance of nursing care during operations as the role of Surgical Nurse in IDR.
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Background Earthquakes in developing countries are devastating events. Orthopaedic surgeons play a key role in treating earthquake-related injuries to the extremities. We describe orthopaedic injury epidemiology to help guide response planning for earthquake-related disasters. Methods Several databases were searched for articles reporting primary injury after major earthquakes from 1970 to June 2016. We used the following key words: “earthquake” AND “fracture” AND “injury” AND “orthopedic” AND “treatment” AND “epidemiology.” The initial search returned 528 articles with 253 excluded duplicates. The remaining 275 articles were screened using inclusion criteria, of which the main one was the description of precise anatomic location of fracture. This yielded 17 articles from which we analyzed the ratio of orthopaedic to nonorthopaedic injuries; orthopaedic injury location, type, and frequency; fracture injury characteristics (open vs. closed, single vs. multiple, and simple vs. comminuted); and first-line treatments. ResultsMost injuries requiring treatment after earthquakes (87%) were orthopaedic in nature. Nearly two-thirds of these injuries (65%) were fractures. The most common fracture locations were the tibia/fibula (27%), femur (17%), and foot/ankle (16%). Forty-two percent were multiple fractures, 22% were open, and 16% were comminuted. The most common treatment for orthopaedic injuries in the setting of earthquakes was debridement (33%). Conclusions Orthopaedic surgeons play a critical role after earthquake disasters in the developing world. A strong understanding of orthopaedic injury epidemiology and treatment is critical to providing effective preparation and assistance in future earthquake disasters.
This chapter is based on our experience in providing medical care to children after earthquakes in Armenia (1988), Iran (1990), Georgia (1991), the USA (San Francisco, 1991), Egypt (1992), Japan (1995), Russia (Neftegorsk, Sakhalin, 1995), Afghanistan (1998, 2002), Turkey (1999), India (2001), Algeria (2003), Pakistan (2005), Indonesia (2006, 2009), Haiti (2010), and Nepal (2015). Medical assistance in these countries was provided by the Russian specialized medical pediatric team which included medical specialists of the Clinical and Research Institute of Urgent Pediatric Surgery and Trauma. There is no other team like this in the world. In many countries, it is known as Doctor Roshal’s Brigade. This brigade provided medical assistance to thousands of injured children all over the world [1–7]. Our chapters in this book were written by the immediate participants of these events. Based on our data, mortality and disability rate in children drops by half when medical assistance is provided by pediatric surgeons, compared to doctors for adults. Adult surgeons are more likely to do amputation surgeries than pediatric ones.
As disasters continue to grow in frequency and impact, high-quality evidence is needed to address the health needs of disaster survivors. Evidence-based practice has developed in recent decades, but continues to be poorly developed for disasters. This chapter will review the reasons for, and main principles in, evidence-based practice. Examples will be given of the problems that can arise when such evidence is lacking or not following. These provide some ethical justification for the generation of evidence to guide future disaster responders. However, such research raises significant ethical challenges which will be summarised here, and examined in detail in the chapters of Part II of this book.
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This study focuses on the role of Systems Design in addressing the challenges of healthcare provision by international emergency relief organizations in developing countries. More specifically the challenges related to the safety and performance of medical equipment that is transferred in the aftermath of a humanitarian crisis. The aim of this paper is to describe the transfer of medical equipment and its associated challenges from a systems perspective and to reflect on the value of Systems Design as an approach to humanitarian innovation, addressing the identified systemic challenges. The concepts of Human Factors and Ergonomics, and Product-Service Systems will be presented as valuable contributions to support designers in handling a larger degree of complexity throughout the design process and to support them to make informed choices regarding this particular context.
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A massive earthquake struck North Pakistan on 8 October 2005. The objective of this study was to evaluate the types of injuries and the procedures carried out on the admitted casualties, and to present recommendations based on these experiences for improvement in disaster preparedness and management. This is a descriptive study conducted at the Military Hospital, Rawalpindi. Inclusion criteria included all patients who required admission for treatment. Patients who had minor injuries not requiring indoor treatment and those who were dead on arrival were excluded from this study. The files of admitted patients were analyzed for type of injuries, procedures performed, complications, and causes of death. The total number of patients received was 1698, of which 862 (50.8%) were admitted. A total of 2289 operations were performed including 1046 (45.7%) major interventions. Sixteen (1.5%) amputations were necessary. Seventeen deaths (1.9%) occurred in hospital, while 76 dead bodies were received. After the initial days of life- and limb saving, it is important to quickly divide the manpower into teams with a major emphasis on plastic, orthopedics and spinal surgery, to start shifts and to utilize the volunteer manpower early and judiciously. Prevention of tetanus is essential.
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At 8:52 am on 8 October 2005 a massive earthquake wracked northern Pakistan and Kashmir. Various teams were sent to Islamabad and the disaster region from the UK. We discuss the types of injury patterns seen and recommend that a central register of volunteers should be created to deal with similar situations in the future.
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The Kashmir Earthquake of October 8, 2005 had widespread destructive effects with in excess of 86,000 people killed and over 80,000 severely injured. Most hospitals were destroyed and limited facilities were available for medical service in the immediate aftermath. A small military hospital in Forward Kahuta, Pakistan, remained functional and was inundated with severely injured patients over 72h. A retrospective review of medical records to document the injury patterns, subsequent treatment, infections and logistical requirements that occurred following this earthquake. One thousand five hundred and two patients were triaged over 72h. Four hundred and sixty eight (31.1%) patients required admission. Three hundred and nineteen (68.2%) patients were managed non-operatively and 149 (31.8%) required a procedure under general anaesthesia. The most common type of injuries were: superficial lacerations (64.9%); fractures (22.2%); and soft tissue contusions/sprains (5.9%). There were 266 major injuries to the extremities (40.1% upper limb; 59.9% lower limb). Six patients had significant abdominal injuries, 66.6% of these required urgent laparotomy. 14.8% had clinically relevant infections at follow-up requiring surgical debridement or antibiotic therapy. Disaster response in the early phase of earthquake relief is complex, with local facilities often overwhelmed and damaged. Limb injuries are most likely; however facilities should have clear plans to deal with severe trauma including head injuries and penetrating abdominal trauma. Coordinated effort is required for success, with lessons learnt to improve future disaster management.
The records of all 437 persons who died from trauma in San Francisco in 1977 were examined. Sixty-five percent of the sample (285 younger than 50 years, and 119 were between ages 21 and 30. Gunshot wounds (140 or 32 percent) and falls (122 or 28 percent) were the most common causes of injury. Fifty-three percent of the sample were dead at the scene of injury before transport could be accomplished, 7.5 percent died in the emergency room, and 39.5 percent died in the hospital. Fifty-five percent of the 359 patients who died within the first 2 days died from brain injury, while 78 percent of the 55 late deaths were due to sepsis and multiple organ failure. In 10 cases (2 percent), death was due to delayed transport or to errors in diagnosis and treatment and was deemed preventable. The key areas in which advances are necessary in order to reduce the number of trauma deaths are prevention of trauma, more rapid and skilled transport of injured victims, better early management of primary brain injuries, and more effective treatment of the late complications of sepsis and multiple organ failure.
The earthquake that struck Northern Pakistan and Kashmir on 8 October 2005 at 08:50 h local time measured 7.6 on the Richter scale and caused massive destruction. The current estimated death toll is 87,000, with an additional 150,000 casualties of whom 50% were children. This devastating earthquake displaced 3.5 million people and affected a land area greater than did the Tsunami of 2004. We present the experiences of a trauma team who travelled to Pakistan's earthquake-affected region from the UK and helped set up a combined orthopaedic and plastics trauma unit. Following the earthquake, a specific appeal by the Association of Pakistani Physicians and Surgeons, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), was taken up by, among others, three orthopaedic specialist registrars, one consultant anaesthetist and two theatre nurses who independently volunteered their services. This group arrived 2 weeks after the earthquake and formed a British Trauma Team based at the Children's Unit in Islamabad's largest government hospital, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences. An opportunity arose through another NGO, Red Crescent International, to help set up a combined trauma unit with a team of visiting UK plastic surgeons in a private hospital, Al-Shifa, situated in Rawalpindi. The team treated a total of 150 patients during the 2-week stay. A breakdown of operations performed is shown in Fig. 1. The mean patient age was 10 years.
To evaluate the characteristics of patients treated at a field hospital in the first month after a major earthquake. Age, sex, diagnosis, and operations performed on patients admitted to the field hospital of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Pakistani Kashmir between 21 October and 10 November 2005 were recorded and the data analysed. During the three week period of this study, 316 patients were treated at the hospital; 246 were women and children (77.9%). Two thirds were hospitalised, over 90% because of the need for surgery or surgical consultation. Altogether 345 operations were performed on 157 patients. The majority of patients had infected wounds with or without fractures. Most patients need medical evaluation in consequence of earthquake-related trauma even weeks after the catastrophe, especially in areas difficult of access.
To provide better emergency and outpatient services in well-equipped field hospitals, organisation and team and equipment selection are of utmost importance to meet the demands of the earthquake zone. In the planning stage, the evaluation of data collected after the earthquake is essential. On 14 October 2005, following the earthquake in the city of Muzafferabad of Kashmir, Pakistan on 8 October 2005, Turkish Red Crescent Field Hospital was established and equipped with health professionals. A total of 2892 patients were treated and followed up. All the patients were prospectively evaluated. The profiles of the patients transferred, operated, or followed up within this period were documented. Furthermore, the patients who applied with post-traumatic musculoskeletal trauma were also documented. Of 1075 patients, who applied to orthopaedics outpatient clinic, 543 were female and 632 were male. The patients were evaluated based on their fracture as follows: pelvis (n=45), femur (n=59), tibia (n=87), ankle and foot (n=45), vertebra (n=41), clavicle (n=10), humerus (n=38), forearm (n=20) and hand and wrist (n=45). Medical necessities in an earthquake zone are dynamic and change rapidly. Field hospitals must be prepared for requested changes to their mode of activity and for extreme conditions.