Are pre-hospital deaths from accidental injury preventable?

L.M. Hussain, A.D. Redmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective : To determine what proportion of pre-hospital deaths from accidental injury - deaths at the scene of the accident and those that occur before the person has reached hospital - are preventable.

Design : Retrospective study of all deaths from accidental injury that occurred between 1 January 1987 and 31 December 1990 and were reported to the 20 coroner.

Setting : North Staffordshire.

Main outcome measures : Injury severity score, probability of survival (probit analysis), and airway obstruction.

Results : There were 152 pre-hospital deaths from accidental injury (110 males and 42 females). In the same period thee were 257 deaths in hospital from accidental injury (136 males and 121 females). The average age at death was 41.9 years for those who died before reaching hospital, and their average injury severity score was 29.3 In contrast, those who died in hospital were older and equally likely to be males or females. Important neurological injury occurred in 113 pre-hospital deaths, and evidence of airway obstruction in 59. Eighty six pre-hospital deaths were due to road traffic accidents, and 37 of these were occupants in cars. On the basis of the injury severity score and age, death was found to have been inevitable or highly likely in 92 cases. In the remaining 60 cases death had not been inevitable and airway obstruction was present in up to 51 patients with injuries that they might have survived.

Conclusion : Death was potentially preventable in at least 39% of those who died from accidental injury before they reached hospital. Training in first aid should be available more widely, and particularly to motorists as many pre-hospital deaths that could be prevented are due to road accidents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077
Number of pages1
Issue number6936
Publication statusPublished - 1994

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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