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Knowledge of injuries of earthquake victims is important to plan relief efforts. This cross-sectional study was conducted following the 08 October 2005 earthquake in Northern Pakistan to determine the pattern of injuries sustained and their relationship with age and gender in order to identify the medical needs in an earthquake-affected zone.
The study was conducted between 13 October and 23 October 2005 at the Emergency Relief Hospital, Doraha, Mansehra. From the 1,700 patients registered in the hospital, 310 were sampled randomly for the study. Demography and details of the patients' injuries were noted by history and physical examination. Twelve cases were omitted due to incomplete data.
Of the cases, 54% were female. Children ≤10 years old formed the largest age group. Isolated bone injuries were present in 41%, soft tissue injuries in 36%, and mixed injuries in 23% of the patients.The most common bone injury was lower limb fracture (52%), while the most common non-bone injury was non-infected, soft tissue wounds on the limbs (33%). Among patients with soft tissue injuries, gangrenous wounds were present in 9%, and grossly infected wounds in 30% (20% on limbs and 10% on rest of the body).
The population injured during the earthquake showed a higher proportion of females and children ≤10 years old, and lower limb bone injuries. The data highlight the need to address orthopedic, pediatric, and women's health issues, and for logistic arrangement of relevant diagnostic and therapeutic facilities at the initial stages of relief activities after earthquakes.
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