The casualty department at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital treated 84 846 patients last year, which is about 7000 patients a month.
These shocking figures are revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku in a written reply to my questions in the Legislature.
The breakdown of cases is as follows:
- Trauma 25 674
- Surgery 14 232
- Orthopaedics 16 668
- Medical 28 284
There were 22 238 cases treated for violence and road accidents, broken down as follows:
- Gunshots 1033
- Stabbing 3276
- Road accidents 4406
- Burns 1605
- Assaults 4238
- Other injuries 7677
There were also 3597 psychiatric cases, 1298 cases of organophosphate poisoning, and 45 suicides by hanging.
These terrible figures are comparable to the injuries in a war zone. Gunshot injuries have gone up from 949 in 2017 to 1033 in 2018, and stabbing wounds from 3235 in 2017 to 3276 last year.
This curse of violence in our society is often fueled by alcohol.
A small sign of hope is that assault injuries at the hospital went down from 5052 in 2017 to 4238 in 2018, and road accident victims down from 4637 to 4406.
Effective action to bring down crime and road accidents would take a lot of strain off this hospital’s casualty ward, which must be one of the busiest in the world.