Epidemiology of assault and self-harm injuries treated in a large Romanian Emergency Department

  • Gal M
  • Rus D
  • Peek-Asa C
 et al. 
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OBJECTIVES: Intentional injury, including interpersonal violence and self-harm, is one of the world's leading causes of preventable injury. In Europe alone, nearly 1.5 million individuals receive medical treatment each year for a violence-related injury. We examined violent injuries treated in the largest Emergency Department (ED) in Tirgu Mures County, Romania, with a catchment area of approximately 580 000 residents to describe the epidemiology of assault and self-harm injuries. METHODS: Data were collected as part of the European Injury Database project, from a sample of patients who presented with a violence-related injury and received care from the ED of the Mures County Emergency Hospital, Romania. The data were collected for 9 months by two trained emergency physicians. Information about individual demographics; mechanism, nature, place, and activity of injury; injury types, and body regions affected; and discharge state were compared for assault and self-harm injuries. RESULTS: Of the 380 patients treated for violence-related injuries, 88.7% were for assault and 11.3% were for self-harm. For both types of injuries, the majority of patients were between the ages of 15 and 44. Assaults frequently occurred in the home, on streets and highways, or in public places; and men (80.4%) were far more likely than women (19.6%) to be treated for this type of injury; a slightly higher proportion of men (55.8%) than women (44.2%) were treated for self-harm, most of which occurred in homes. DISCUSSION: Of all injuries treated in the Tirgu Mures ED, one out of five was violence related. One out of 10 patients that suffered an injury as a consequence of a violent event and treated in the ED required admission to a hospital for further medical care, leading to a significant health care burden. These data suggest that prevention strategies should focus on young adults, and particularly men. Interventions that focus on detection and treatment of psychological illness, reduction of alcohol use and associated aggression, and family and intimate partner violence are suggested as priorities.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Assault
  • Emergency department
  • European Injury Database
  • Injury
  • Self-harm

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