SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574
Each year, 70 000 South Africans are killed by trauma, and a further 3.5 million seek trauma care. We analysed 1 465 trauma patients at the regional-level King Edward VIII Hospital (KE8H) in eThekwini Municipality. Mean patient age was 29 years. Peaks in patient numbers were observed mid-month, at month-end, between 08h00 and 12h00 daily and on Saturday and Sunday nights. Most injuries occurred on roads, at informal settlements and at bars/shebeens. More than 44% of injuries had a violent cause. The pattern of presentation was more in line with a primary healthcare setting than a referral centre. Reliable and accurate injury trend information is required for effective strategies to curb South Africa's high injury mortality and morbidity rates. Epidemiological databases are needed, as well as safe, robust and ethical systems for collecting, collating, analysing and disseminating non-fatal injury-related data.