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Med J Aust. 1986 Nov 3;145(9):441-3.

Morbidity patterns in a general paediatric unit in rural Western Australia.


Admissions to the Medical Paediatric Unit at Derby Regional Hospital in 1984 were reviewed. There were 536 admissions (289 males and 247 females). The average number of inpatients per day was 11.7, average duration of stay was 8.0 days, and there was one hospital death. Aboriginal children represented 90% of admissions and 59% of these were under two years of age. Several major problems were often encountered in individual children; these included respiratory, gastrointestinal and renal disease, failure to thrive and anaemia. Plasma electrolyte levels were measured in 82 children with gastroenteritis. Of these children 45 (55%) had a serum potassium level of less than 3.0 mmol/L and eight (10%) had a serum potassium level of less than 2 mmol/L. One hundred and four children were diagnosed as having pneumonia; 74 (71%) of them responded to penicillin. In 19 (21%) of 92 children who failed to thrive, no definite medical cause was found. The remainder had a combination of diarrhoeal disease, and chest and urinary tract infections. Anaemia, renal calculi and rheumatic fever are also common medical problems in the Kimberley region.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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