Sunday 19 May, 2019

Put more resources into injury prevention - UWI Hospital doctor

Dr. Jason Toppin,  a consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the University Hospital of the West Indies,  the $12.6 billion cost to care for injuries associated with violence and road crashes represented one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product for Jamaica in 2014.

Dr. Jason Toppin, a consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the University Hospital of the West Indies, the $12.6 billion cost to care for injuries associated with violence and road crashes represented one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product for Jamaica in 2014.

With the cost of care for both violence related injuries (VRIs) and road traffic crashes (RTCs) registering in the region of $12.6 billion annually, Dr. Jason Toppin, a member of the Violence Prevention Alliance is calling for proper resources to be channeled into the area of prevention.

He said that these injuries were preventable.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) data indicates that 80 per cent of violence related injuries and 90 per cent of road traffic crashes can be prevented. They recommended that investing in prevention of these injuries would make available, resources to provide treatment in other areas,” he said.

He made these remarks during a presentation entitled “Violence, Health and Development: Examining the cost of Violence-Related Injuries to Jamaica,” recently at the 27th Annual Research Conference Workshop organized by the Faculty of Medical Sciences in collaboration with the VPA at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

He pointed out that in real terms the cost of care for both violence related injuries (VRIs) and road traffic crashes (RTCs) was the equivalent of the minimum wage for 40,000 people for a year; the cost 90 million patties; the average salary of 7,000 Jamaican people for a year; and the purchase of 3,000 Toyota Corollas.

Dr. Toppin, who is also a consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the University Hospital of the West Indies, said that based on a 2017 published study, “Cost to Care: The Burden of Violence-related Injuries and Road Traffic Crashes to the Health Care System of Jamaica,” the $12.6 billion cost to care for injuries associated with violence and road crashes represented one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product for Jamaica in 2014.

In giving a breakdown of the cost of care for individual injuries, Dr. Toppin disclosed that the average medical cost for a violence related injury at the hospital was $147,000. He said further that the highest cost burden was incurred for a gunshot wound case which, on average amounted to $402,000, while a stab wound or laceration totaled on average, $194,000.

As for RTCs, Dr. Toppin revealed that the average cost of care for this type of injury was $113,000, while the most expensive in terms of care involved a motorcycle rider injury, which on average amounted to $262,000. The average cost for an injury in a motorcar, he added, was $94,000. “How can we not afford it to prevent these issues?” he quipped.

The Cost of Care Study built on the Jamaica Injury Surveillance System (JISS), which has been an ongoing process to collect demographic data on people presenting to the government run hospitals with injuries in general. The study reviewed cases of VRIs and RTCS seen during the period April to June 2014 at seven hospitals – UHWI, Kingston Public Hospital, Bustamante Hospital for Children, Spanish Town Hospital, May Pen Hospital, St. Ann’s Bay Hospital and Cornwall Regional Hospital.

The lead investigators for the study included: Dr. Toppin; Dr. Trevor McCartney, Medical Chief of Staff (UHWI); Dr. Elizabeth Ward, VPA Chairperson and Dr. Deanna Ashley, VPA Executive Director.

The 27th Annual Research Conference and Workshop was held under the theme “Violence, Trauma and Development”. Professor Jonathan Shepherd of the University of Cardiff in Wales, United Kingdom was the guest lecturer.

He presented on the Cardiff Model, which is used to identify crime hotspots through information collected at local hospitals from victims of violent crimes.

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