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One hundred consecutive referrals with pelvic and acetabular fractures treated over a three year period were reviewed with regard to their early management. Early management was subdivided into four areas: 1. initial assessment and treatment; 2. imaging; 3. referral; 4. management of associated injuries. The cases comprised 26 pelvic fractures (18 treated operatively), 69 acetabular fractures (50 treated operatively), and 5 combination fractures (3 treated operatively). Guidelines were laid down in each of the four areas of management and each patient's management was compared with this ideal. 56% of cases had deficient management by our criteria. There were important failures in diagnosis and early treatment of these complex injuries. A set of simple guidelines is offered to help improve the situation.
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