October 17 marks World Trauma Day, a day set aside to consider the impact, prevention and treatment of traumatic injuries and deaths.
In its press release on the subject, the Trauma Society of South Africa focuses on road deaths as one of the leading, and most preventable, causes of traumatic death in South Africa. With the highest road mortality rate in the world (40 deaths per day), the Society’s president, Dr Timothy Hardcastle, implores South Africans to buckle up, stay sober and be vigilant on the roads, especially stressing the need to obey the rules of the road: “Overall there is just not enough respect shown for the laws of the road and the lives of others who make use of these roads.” The Society’s Secretary, Mande Toubkin highlights children’s safety in vehicles: “Buckling up is the simplest way of saving your child’s life in an accident, it is therefore unthinkable that parents in this day and age would not absolutely insist on the wearing of seatbelts at all times.”
On the receiving end of road trauma is usually the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), who are called to respond to high volumes of often horrific accident scenes. In their comments for World Trauma Day, ER24 highlights that time is of the essence when dealing with trauma patients. Of trauma’s ‘ticking clock’, AEA facilitatory Kim Habib, with 16 years of experience, says the priorities are to “Stop the bleeding, continue the breathing, and get the patient to the doctor”, but also mentions the sometimes indelible mark a gruesomely injured patient can leave.
A Lodox full-body X-ray scanner is often the first port of call for a trauma patient entering a hospital so, as a company, we are also aware of the number and seriousness of road accidents and road deaths in South Africa. We recognise, and echo, the Trauma Society of South Africa in its quest to prevent and mitigate trauma in South Africa. We also salute the hard-working EMS crews who are first on the scene when trauma does occur, and who are responsible for securing life until a hospital can be reached.
We hope that commemoration of World Trauma Day 2013 brings awareness to everyone that road deaths are preventable.