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Journal Article

Citation

Langley JD, Brenner RA. Inj. Prev. 2004; 10(2): 69-71.

Affiliation

Injury Prevention Research Unit, Dept of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2004, BMJ Publishing Group)

DOI

10.1136/ip.2003.003715

PMID

15066967

PMCID

PMC1730061

Abstract

A clear definition is needed

Paramount to the study of any disease is the clear definition of the subject of interest. The definition of injury is fraught with challenges and complexities. Importantly, injuries unlike most diseases must be defined simultaneously by the causative event and by the resulting pathology. For example, bruising can occur in the absence of a mechanical insult to the body (for example, in the case of sepsis or a bleeding disorder) and thus, taken alone, cannot be considered an injury. Similarly there are many events, such as car crashes, that result in no pathology, even if “victims” are bought to an emergency department for observation. Thus, the theoretical definition of injury must incorporate both cause and outcome. Equally challenging is the operational definition of injury, for example, which diagnoses, codes, or combination of codes from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)1 define injury? In this paper we discuss shortcomings in existing theoretical and operational definitions of injury with a view to advancing injury prevention research and practice....

Some have suggested that discussions about what is and what is not an injury is an esoteric exercise of interest only to nosologists and theorists. Using the New Zealand experience, however, this paper has demonstrated that estimates of the incidence of injury can vary substantially depending on one’s operational definition of injury. This has important implications for determining priorities, developing indicators for monitoring trends, and undertaking international comparisons. Commonly accepted theoretical and operational definitions of what is an injury are in need of revision. Ideally this should take place in an international context and by consensus. The International Collaborative effort on Injury Statistics represents an excellent international forum through which to progress this.

(term-accident-vs-injury)


Language: en

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