Author(s): Awais S, Saeed A
PURPOSE: On 8 October 2005 a massive earthquake hit the northern mountainous areas of Pakistan and Kashmir causing 73,338 deaths and leaving over 125,000 severely injured. In a region which was less prepared for such an enormous disaster, mobilising rescue, relief and rehabilitation posed great challenges. The first author (SMA) established two level 1 orthopaedic trauma and rehabilitation units in each of two severely hit major cities through private philanthropy. According to the severity of injuries, the patients were triaged and treated. The aim of this study is to improve the future strategies in similar scenarios.
METHODS: This is a retrospective review of medical records of patients suffering from musculoskeletal injuries in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake who were managed in these centres in the order of triage priority. The patients were received, categorised, worked up and provided definitive surgical procedures. All patients were provided assistance for the fitting of a prosthesis and rehabilitation.
RESULTS: Of 128,304 (total of injured patients), 19,700 were managed in two centres established by SMA during the first months after the earthquake. Of these, 112 patients underwent amputations of upper and lower limbs.
CONCLUSIONS: In a massive calamity over a wide geographical area away from big university hospitals, such as the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, the level 1 operating theatre facilities must be established within the area to meet the immediate needs of the patients nearest to their homes and families, and run forever so that patients can have excellent follow-up and can use the same facilities regularly. In the aftermath of this earthquake the need to practise triage in the first 72 hours was thoroughly realised and effectively practised in our centres.International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation