Paper| Volume 22, ISSUE 3, P207-211, May 1991

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Initial management of open fractures sustained in the M1 aircraft disaster

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      There were 83 survivors of the M1 aircrash admitted to hospital; of these, 28 patients sustained a total of 40 open fractures. These open fractures were classified as 19 grade 3, 16 grade 2 and five grade 1. There were six upper limb fractures and 34 lower limb fractures. A high proportion of grade 3 open fractures were identified in this series (47 per cent) and one-half of these occurred at or below the ankle. This reflected the high energy and direction of the forces involved in the aircrash.
      The early results in terms of the incidence of wound infection (15 per cent), delayed wound healing (7.5 per cent) and skin flap necrosis (7.5 per cent) were similar to other series.
      The controversy over whether to leave grade 3 wounds open or closed was not clarified by this study, but the closure of grade 3 wounds after internal fixation is to be avoided.
      This study emphasizes the need for provision of adequate specialist manpower, equipment and resources to manage the unexpected major disaster successfully.
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