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Consultative Committee on Road Traffic Fatalities: Trauma Audit Methodology

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Background: Since 1992 the Consultative Committee on Road Traffic Fatalities in Victoria has identified deficiencies and errors in the management of 559 road traffic fatalities in which the patients were alive on arrival of ambulance services. The Committee also assessed the preventability of deaths. Reproducibility of results using its methodology has been shown to be statistically significant. The Committee’s findings and recommendations, the latter made in association with the learned Colleges and specialist Societies, led to the establishment of a Ministerial Taskforce on Trauma and Emergency Services. As a consequence, in 2000, a new trauma care system will be implemented in Victoria. This paper presents a case example demonstrating the Committee’s methodology.

Methods: The Committee has two 12 member multidisciplinary evaluative panels. A retrospective evaluation was made of the complete ambulance, hospital and autopsy records of eligible fatalities. The clinical and pathological findings were analysed using a comprehensive data proforma, a narrative summary and the complete records. Resulting multidisciplinary discussion problems were identified and the potential preventability of death was assessed.

Results: In the present case example the Committee identified 16 management deficiencies of which 11 were assessed as having contributed to the patient’s death; the death, however, was judged to be non-preventable.

Conclusion: The presentation of this example demonstrating the Committee’s methodology may be of assistance to hospital medical staff undertaking their own major trauma audit.
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Keywords: evaluation; management; mortality; preventable deaths; road traffic fatalities; trauma; trauma systems

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2000

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