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Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2019 Aug 28:1-8. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2019.75. [Epub ahead of print]

Injury-Related Emergency Department Visits After Hurricane Maria in a Southern Puerto Rico Hospital.

Author information

1
Ponce Health Sciences University, Saint Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Ponce, Puerto Rico.
2
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Dengue Branch, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to describe individuals seeking care for injury at a major emergency department (ED) in southern Puerto Rico in the months after Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017.

METHODS:

After informed consent, we used a modified version of the Natural Disaster Morbidity Surveillance Form to determine why patients were visiting the ED during October 16, 2017-March 28, 2018. We analyzed visits where injury was reported as the primary reason for visit and whether it was hurricane-related.

RESULTS:

Among 5 116 patients, 573 (11%) reported injury as the primary reason for a visit. Of these, 10% were hurricane-related visits. The most common types of injuries were abrasions, lacerations, and cuts (43% of all injury visits and 50% of hurricane-related visits). The most common mechanisms of injury were falls, slips, trips (268, 47%), and being hit by/or against an object (88, 15%). Most injury visits occurred during the first 3 months after the hurricane.

CONCLUSIONS:

Surveillance after Hurricane Maria identified injury as the reason for a visit for about 1 in 10 patients visiting the ED, providing evidence on the patterns of injuries in the months following a hurricane. Public health and emergency providers can use this information to anticipate health care needs after a disaster.

KEYWORDS:

hurricane; injury; syndromic surveillance

PMID:
31455463
DOI:
10.1017/dmp.2019.75

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