Doha, 19 March, 2019: According to data from Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Qatar Trauma Registry, 70 percent of patients admitted to the Hamad Trauma Center with serious brain injuries sustained their injuries as a result of motor vehicle crashes. The HMC Neurosurgery Department and the Hamad Trauma Center are releasing this data as part of their activities to mark World Head Injury Awareness Day which takes place each year on 20 March.
World Head Injury Awareness Day aims to raise awareness of the full spectrum of head injuries, ranging from a mild bump to a severe brain injury. This year, the Hamad Trauma Center is collaborating with HMC’s Neurosurgery Department to highlight the severity of head injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes and the importance of following simple safety measures in their prevention.
“Each year, between 2,000 and 2,500 patients are admitted to our Hamad Trauma Center and around 250 of these patients are admitted as a result of a traumatic brain injury due to a motor vehicle crash,” explained Dr. Sandro Rizoli, Medical Director of the Hamad Trauma Center.
“A traumatic brain injury is a severe form of head injury, one that leads to disruption in the normal function of the brain. Traumatic brain injuries can be fatal or cause long-term disability for the victim. For this reason, it is vital that we not only provide the highest quality care for patients suffering traumatic brain injuries but that we also work to raise awareness of what can be done to prevent them,” added Dr. Rizoli.
Qatar Trauma Registry data shows that traumatic brain injuries equate to more than ten percent of all trauma admissions. Around 70 percent of these are caused by motor vehicle crashes, with approximately 27 percent caused by falls from height.
Dr. Sirajeddin Belkhair, Head of Neurosurgery explained that in 2018 approximately 600 traumatic brain injury cases were seen at Hamad General Hospital’s Emergency Department and the Neurosurgery Department performed potentially life-saving surgical procedures on 184 of these patients.
“All too often our neurosurgeons see first-hand the devastating result that a motor vehicle crash can have on the victim’s brain. A severe head injury can lead to memory loss, paralysis, and even death. And it is not only the victims themselves who are affected – the debilitating impact of a traumatic brain injury can change the lives of the victim’s family as they often have to provide long-term care and assistance for the victim,” said Dr. Belkhair.
“In Qatar, as in most countries around the world, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries. But what is particularly concerning is that the percentage of traumatic brain injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes is higher here in Qatar than internationally – 70 percent compared to around 50 percent globally,” added Dr. Belkhair.
Dr. Rafael Consunji, Director of the Hamad Injury Prevention Program states that while data released earlier this year by the Hamad Trauma Center shows a 31 percent reduction between 2011 and 2017 in the number of people per 100,000 population admitted with severe injuries due to road traffic accidents, more work still needs to be done to make Qatar’s roads safer.
“A large number of the traumatic brain injuries that we see as a result of motor vehicle crashes in Qatar are entirely preventable. For example, if every adult wore a seat belt and every child used an appropriate car seat on each journey we would see a dramatic reduction in severe head injuries. Around 25 percent of children admitted to the Hamad Trauma Center with traumatic brain injuries due to motor vehicle crashes were physically ejected from the vehicle during the crash. This means they were either not using a seat belt or car seat or they were using them incorrectly. We need to get the message across that the majority of these devastating injuries can be prevented by all passengers using a seatbelt, on every trip, all the time,” said Dr. Consunji.