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This is an epidemiological study based on Coroners' records analysing mode of injury and place and cause of death. The aim of the study is to provide data on the incidence and patterns of death from trauma and to assess the need for changes in trauma management. All traumatic deaths occurring in the South West Thames Region during 1988 were studied. We analysed 434 of these deaths (mean age 52 years) in some detail. Of the deaths, 59 per cent occurred before arrival at hospital. Road traffic accidents are the commonest cause of death from trauma, being most prevalent in the areas containing major trunk roads. The majority of deaths due to chest injury (79 per cent) and multiple injuries (70 per cent) occurred before arrival at a hospital, whereas the majority of deaths due to head injury (63 per cent) occurred after admission. The majority of deaths from trauma occur before arrival at a hospital, particularly in the semi-rural areas. Improvements in hospital trauma care could have only a limited effect on the death rate in existing circumstances. If important reductions in deaths from severe injury are to be made then prevention and prehospital care need to be improved.
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Accepted: December 16, 1991
© 1992 Published by Elsevier Inc.