REFERRAL OF EMERGENCY SURGICAL PATIENTS IN A TERTIARY HOSPITAL, ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
Background: Referral is part of patient care when done appropriately. Common reasons for referral include seeking expert advice, technical examination and/or intervention, care beyond the facility’s capacity.
Objectives: Determine the rate, reason for and type of cases referred among patients seen at surgical Emergency Room of SPHMMC during May to July 2015.
Material and Methods: Cross sectional study was done at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College Emergency Room, including all surgical patients seen in three months period. Data was collected from the individual patient’s medical records, records of the ER and the liaison office and Interns morning reporting book. Data was analyzed with SPSS version 20.
Results: Total of 2,492 patients were seen. The mean number of patients seen per day was 27.7 with a range from 13 to 51. Trauma made 70% (1746) of all cases seen. Cases that needed admission made 30.1% (755), but only 49.5 % (374) of them were admitted. The overall referral rate was 15.3%. The referral rate in patients who needed admission was 50.5 % (381). Trauma made 77.4% (295) of the referrals, mainly orthopedic, 54.6% (161) and neuro-traumas, 38% (112). Among non trauma cases acute abdominal conditions tops, 75% (56). Lack of inpatient beds was the main reason for referral 65.6% (250). Specialist care need was the reason for referral in 34.5% (131) of cases. Among patients referred only 14.4% (55) left the hospital at the time of referrals. Four percent (13) of the kept patients died in the ER waiting for referrals.
Conclusions: The rate of referral from St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College Emergency Room is high. It is higher in trauma cases, specifically orthopedic and neuro-traumas. Main reason for referrals was lack of bed. The capacity of the hospital and other hospitals in AA in absorbing traumas, specifically orthopedic and neuro-traumas need to be evaluated and necessary policy adjustments should be implemented. Further study at each hospital and the whole city gives better picture of referrals among hospitals in Addis Ababa.
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