In the United States, train-related accidents account for more than 18,000 injuries and 1,200 fatalities annually, yet there is a paucity of literature pertaining to this unique injury. We reviewed the medical records of 98 of 135 cases of train-related trauma treated at Ben Taub General Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, from 1990 to 1995. There were 50 train-pedestrian accidents, 47 train-automobile accidents, and 1 train-motorcycle accident, with a mean patient age of 30.1 years (range, 2 to 66 years). Eighteen patients (18%) were pronounced dead on arrival or died shortly after admission. Of the other 80 patients, 27 (34%) were discharged from the emergency department after minor medical treatment, while 53 (66%) were hospitalized, of whom 10 (13%) later expired. The mean Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 11.9 (discharged, 1.8; hospitalized, 14.3; expired, 29.2). Forty-five patients (56%) sustained 57 extremity fractures, and 30 patients (38%) required 40 amputations. Mean Mangled Extremity Severity Score (MESS) for all injured extremities was 5.2 (amputation, 7.7; no amputation, 2.8). On average, the hospitalization cost per patient was greater than $18,698, while the reimbursement from the patients was $2,261, leaving the hospital with a net deficit of approximately 2 million dollars. Surprisingly, train accidents do not always result in serious injury. However, when serious injury is sustained, it is often of high morbidity (amputation) and mortality, which appears to correlate well with the initial MESS and ISS. Extrapolating our cost data to include all train-related accident injuries and deaths indicates that the direct costs to society may exceed 300 million dollars annually. Greater public awareness and preventive measures may reduce the tremendous human and financial costs of train-related accidents.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||American journal of orthopedics (Belle Mead, N.J.)|
|State||Published - Apr 1998|
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