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Title: Epidemic of stab injuries: an Alice Springs dilemma.
Authors: Jacob, Abraham O
Boseto, Fred
Ollapallil, Jacob
Citation: ANZ journal of surgery 2007-08; 77(8): 621-5
Abstract: This study is unique in that it strives to unfold, perhaps for the first time, the problem of stab injuries and resultant significant mortality and morbidity within the Aboriginal population of Central Australia. Demographic features presented in the study are quite different from other published Australasian and overseas experiences. There were 1550 stab injury admissions to Alice Springs Hospital during a 7-year period (July 1998 to June 2005). Thirty-two patients were dead before arrival, and there were only three deaths in the hospital during the period of study. The most unique demographic feature was that 99.99% were Aborigines, 53% were women and the most common location of injury was in town camps and homes. The mean age of this population was 31 years, and the average length of stay in hospital was 3 days. The most common site of the stab injuries was the thigh with a total of 605 (38%). Stab injuries to the abdomen were significantly low with 68 (<1%). Twenty-one per cent (332) presented 24 h to 10 days after stabbing. Another 21% (335) absconded before the completion of treatment. Of the victims, 31% (481) were under the influence of alcohol. Twenty per cent (311) of the patients presented with repeat stabbings during the study period. Traditional punishment is still practised in Central Australia and thus explains the high number of thigh injuries. A particular pattern of traditional stab injuries was also noted; medial thigh to kill, posterior thigh to permanently disable and lateral thigh to punish. Rampant alcoholism and social and family breakdown are thought to be significant contributors to the high incidence of violence in Alice Springs. There were only five firearm traumas during this period, two were self-inflicted and three were accidental.
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Journal title: ANZ journal of surgery
Publication Date: 2007-08
ISSN: 1445-1433
Type: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2007.04174.x
Appears in Collections:(a) NT Health Research Collection

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