Indexed on: 23 Jan '14Published on: 23 Jan '14Published in: World Journal of Surgery
Our objectives were to determine the proportion of preventable trauma deaths at a large trauma hospital in Kumasi, Ghana, and to identify opportunities for the improvement of trauma care.A multidisciplinary panel of experts evaluated pre-hospital, hospital, and postmortem data of consecutive trauma patients who died over a 5-month period in 2006-2007 at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. The panel judged the preventability of each death. For preventable and potentially preventable deaths, deficiencies in care that contributed to their deaths were identified.The panel reviewed 231 trauma deaths. Of these, 84 charts had sufficient information to review preventable factors. The panel determined that 23 % of trauma deaths were definitely preventable, 37 % were potentially preventable, and 40 % were not preventable. One main deficiency in care was identified for each of the 50 definitely preventable and potentially preventable deaths. The most common deficiencies were pre-hospital delays (44 % of the 50 deficiencies), delay in treatment (32 %), and inadequate fluid resuscitation (22 %). Among the 19 definitely preventable deaths, the most common cause of death was hemorrhage (47 %), and the most common deficiencies were inadequate fluid resuscitation (37 % of deficiencies in this group) and pre-hospital delay (37 %).A high proportion of trauma fatalities might have been preventable by decreasing pre-hospital delays, adequate resuscitation in hospital, and earlier initiation of care, including definitive surgical management. The study also showed that preventable death panel reviews are a feasible and useful quality improvement method in the study setting.