Alcohol levels in trauma victims
The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za
A group of 142 patients injured in motor vehicle accidents or assaults was investigated to ascertain patterns of alcohol usage and blood alcohol levels; 77% were positive for blood alcohol (range 0,01 0,492 g/dl; mean 0,212 g/dl). A correlation between alcohol levels and injury severity was found. In assaults. multiple injuries were associated with high alcohol levels because of less effective selfdefence. Injured young pedestrians as well as injured occupants of motor vehicles showed alarmingly high alcohol levels. The increasing load placed on trauma services and the resultant burden to the taxpayer necessitates an urgent programme of public education designed to alter attitudes towards alcohol consumption.