An audit of injuries resulting from interpersonal violence at the Leratong Provincial Hospital, in 2009

Saimen, Amashnee
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Interpersonal violence is a global health issue, the impact of which filters through every facet of society. Studies have shown that more than 1.6 million people die annually across the world as a result of violence; injured survivors may suffer from a range of physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health problems.3 The aim of this study is to describe the trends and profile of violence-related injuries originating in a South African community, with regard to the hospital records of an urban emergency department and crisis centre. Materials and Methods: A retrospective, descriptive study was conducted by reviewing patient files at Leratong Provincial Hospital. Relevant clinical information such as victim’s age and gender; time, date and day of hospital attendance; nature of injury; presence/absence of alcohol; and nature of weapon (if any) was extracted. Each patient record was given a unique study number and patient confidentiality was maintained at all times. The extracted information was recorded on a data sheet and analysed statistically. Results: Leratong Hospital sees a large number of patients with injuries due to interpersonal violence throughout the year, with an increase in May, November and December. Higher numbers of patients present in the last week of the month, and as found in other studies Saturday and Sundays experience the most hospital attendances due to interpersonal violence. Victims were predominantly male (64%), except in the case of sexual assault where the victims were all (100%) female; females also suffered more blunt injuries than penetrating injuries. Blunt injuries were the most frequent type of injury in the overall sample, although over the weekend males sustained more penetrating injuries than blunt injuries. Young males were noted to be the main victims of interpersonal violence, and possibly also the main perpetrators. Conclusion: This study highlights the trends in interpersonal violence injuries seen at Leratong Provincial Hospital. Young adults, especially males, are noted to be significantly affected by interpersonal violence.