, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 117-122
Date: 07 Aug 2012

Skeletal injuries sustained during the Haiti earthquake of 2010: a radiographic analysis of the casualties admitted to the Israel Defense Forces field hospital

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Abstract

Purpose

To report the distribution and types of skeletal injuries demonstrated on the images taken at the field hospital following the Haiti 2010 earthquake.

Methods

Following the January 12, 2010, earthquake, the State of Israel dispatched a field hospital to Haiti, managing 1,111 patients from January 17, 2010, to January 26, 2010. Four hundred and seven patients (37 %) had 684 radiographic images, most of them (87 %) due to presumed skeletal injuries.

Results

There were 224 limb fractures (excluding the hands and feet), with 77 % of them in the lower limbs (30 % femur, 17 % tibial shaft, 16 % ankle). Out of 37 axial skeleton fractures, 30 involved the pelvis (21 anterior posterior, three vertical shear, three lateral compression, three combined). Nine traumatic dislocations (five hips, three shoulders, one knee) were reduced. After reviewing all the digital radiographs, on a PACS-compatible radiography screen, few false diagnoses (2 %) were encountered, with none of them affecting the management of these injuries.

Conclusions

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the radiological results emerging from a field hospital following a mass casualty event. Laptop personal computer-based workstations provide an adequate solution for radiographic image viewing in a field hospital setting. Recognition of the prevalence and distribution of skeletal injuries can improve the preparedness of such delegations before departure in the future.