A detailed review of 100 consecutive head injury deaths in the Natal area was undertaken after forensic autopsies had been performed; neurohistological examination was carried out in 69 cases. It was found that one-third of deaths could have been prevented by medical treatment. Hypoxic and ischaemic brain damage was judged to be a contributing cause of death in 88% of all victims. Factors isolated as major causes of preventable death included: failure to prevent hypoxic brain damage by timeous endotracheal intubation and rapid resuscitation; major delays in referral from feeder hospitals; and failure to detect intracerebral haematomas and contusions which subsequently caused raised intracranial pressure. Recommendations for improving this situation are discussed, with particular reference to the situation in Natal.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||South African Medical Journal|
|State||Published - Aug 16 1988|
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