Background: Despite the significant progress that has been made during the last decade, Greece still faces the effects of road traffic accidents (RTAs) to a great extent every year. This study represents an epidemiological approach to road traffic injuries (RTIs) presenting to a secondary hospital in a geographical area with very low quality road network, aiming to indicate possible preventive measures and actions.
Methods: The present study was conducted in General Hospital of Rethymnon between January 2018 and February 2020. Data of all trauma patients that presented to the Emergency Department (ED) after RTAs were retrospectively collected from patients’ medical records. The severity of injury sustained by road traffic victims was graded using the Injury Severity Score (ISS).
Results: During the study period a total of 1582 trauma patients presented to the ED after RTAs. There were 1079 men and 503 women with a median age of 30 years old. In total 818 motorcycle-related injuries (51.7%), 497 automobile-related injuries (31.4%), 165 bicycle-related injuries (10.4%) and 102 pedestrian injuries (6.4%) were documented. 58.2% of patients (921) presented with injuries to the extremities, 35.3% (554) with thoracic injuries, 34.4% (541) with head injuries, 30% (475) with spinal column injuries, 17.4% (271) with facial injuries, 12.9% (203) with abdominal injuries and 10.3% (162) with pelvic injuries. A significant increase in the number of incidents was noticed during the tourist season. Median ISS was 2 (IQR=4). 53.7% of patients who were transferred to our hospital by ambulance had an ISS equal or less than 4. In 41 cases transportation to a tertiary hospital was necessitated, in 6 patients emergency operation was undertaken and 13 others died in the ED. Median length of hospital stay was 3 (IQR=6) days.
Conclusion: Actions that could possibly mitigate the burden of RTIs in the district of Rethymnon include upgrading the level of law enforcement, implementation of educational strategies and information campaigns against inappropriate ambulance use, encouragement of facilities to develop trauma registries and adequate hospital staffing.