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Korean Journal of Epidemiology 1998;20(2): 279-287.
A study on epidemiologic characteristics and factors associated with excess hospitalization of the patients injured by traffic accident.
Mi Woon Kim, Joung Soon Kim, Min Kyung Lim
1College of Medicine, Dongguk University, Korea.
2School of Public Health, Korea.
3Seoul National UniversityKorea.
The occurrence of injuries and death caused by traffic accidents have been increasing during last few decades in Korea, which resulted in enormous personal, social and economic loss in terms of death, disability, labour days and medical costs incurred for treatment. Generally, it is well known and even became an hot sociopolitical issue that the duration of hospital stay for traffic accident patients are much longer than that of other patients with the similar condition. The objective of the study is to find out epidemiologic characreristics and management pattern of traffic accident patients in a general hospital of medium-sized, industrialized town. This study was carried out on 177 cases injured by motor vehicle accidents, who were admitted and treated in a general hospital from Feb. 1, 1997 to Sept. 30, 1997. The results obtained are as followings: The most of the patients(44%) were 20-30 years old age group although the occurrence of injuries was more frequent among older ages, 50's for male and 60's for female being 2.1 times more frequent among male. The traffic accidents occurred most frequently(14.1%) in the morning(06:00-08:00) and afternoon(14:00-16:00), and on Saturdays(20.3%); the (14.1% traffic accidents were frequent during weekends for passengers whereas it was more frequent during weekdays for pedestrian. Old and child pedestrians were most vulnerable subjects to traffic accidents. The most common site injured was head(19.9%) and the injury types were fracture of lower extremity(9.3%), skull fracture(8.6%) and rib fracture(8.6%) for both sexes; rib fractures/thoracic spine fractures(12.0%) for female and tibia/ fibula fractures(11.6%) for male. Mean days of hospital stay presumptively judged by the doctor who examined, made diagnosis and admitted the patient was 43.8 days compare to 38.4 days of actual mean days of hospitalixation. On the other hand, the optimal mean days of hospital stay for the patients determined by two doctors independently was estimated to be 26.6 days. Thus the difference between actual days of hospitalization and optimal days of hospitalization was 11.7 days, which can be regarded as excess hospitalization days. It consists 30.5% of actual hospitalization days, an enormous waste of resources. The only factor associated with this excess hospitalization was payment responsibility for the hospital cost; when the hospitalization expenses are to be paid by the person inflicted the injury there were always excess days of hospitalization regardless of insurance status.
Keywords: Traffic accident; Epidemiology; Excess hospitalization


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