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Journal Article


McDermott FT, Cordner SM, Tremayne AB. J. Trauma 1996; 40(4): 520-33; discussion 533-5.


Department of Surgery, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.


(Copyright © 1996, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins)






OBJECTIVES: In 1992 a multidisciplinary committee was established to identify problems in the management of road fatalities in Victoria, Australia, to assess their contribution to death, and to identify preventable deaths (preventable: survival probability more than 75%; potentially preventable: 25 to 75%). METHODS: For 1992 and 1993 all 137 fatality cases surviving until arrival of ambulance services were evaluated by analysis and discussion of their complete prehospital, hospital, and autopsy records. RESULTS: 1,012 problems were identified in 509 admissions to the various areas of care. Six hundred eighty-five (68%) were management errors and 217 (21%) were system inadequacies. Technique errors (45 (4%)), diagnosis delays (25 (2%)), and diagnosis errors (40 (4%)) were less frequent. The emergency department (ED) accounted for 537 (53%) problems, followed by prehospital (200 (20%)) and intensive care unit (118 (12%)). Four hundred seventy (46%) problems were assessed as contributing to death. Two hundred twenty-eight (49%) occurred in the ED, 90 (19%) were prehospital problems, and 63 (13%) occurred in the intensive care unit. Management errors comprised 326 (69%) problems contributing to death, and system inadequacies 88 (19%). Resuscitation problems accounted for 82 (49%) of the 167 ED management errors contributing to death. Eighty-five (62%) deaths were assessed as nonpreventable, 7 (5%) as preventable, and 45 (33%) as potentially preventable. CONCLUSION: Organizational and educational counter measures are required to reduce the high frequency of problems in emergency services and clinical management.

Language: en


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