Committees  |   January 2018
Injury Prevention
Author Affiliations
  • Michael J. Murray, M.D., Ph.D.
    Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness
  • Maureen McCunn, M.D., FCCM, MIPP
    Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness
  • Corry “Jeb” Kucik, M.D., M.A., FASA, FCCM, FACHE
    Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness
Article Information
Patient Safety / Trauma / Burn Care / Committees
Committees   |   January 2018
Injury Prevention
ASA Monitor 01 2018, Vol.82, 40-43.
ASA Monitor 01 2018, Vol.82, 40-43.
Morbidity and mortality caused by intentional and unintentional trauma, as well as injuries such as intentional and accidental ingestions, are major public health problems worldwide, resulting in billions of dollars of avoidable medical expense as well as critical lost productivity. In addition to being the third-leading cause of death overall, traumatic injury is the leading cause of death in individuals younger than 46 years (Figure 1); therefore, it results in more years of life lost, more disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for survivors and more resulting financial cost than from any other cause (Figure 2, page 42).
Much has been written about the anesthetic management of patients who have sustained traumatic injury, but relatively little has been published in the anesthesia literature about injury prevention. The members of the ASA Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness (COTEP) are of the opinion that if we are serious about improving outcomes from traumatic injury, we as physician anesthesiologists need to also be more engaged in the ongoing national discussions on injury prevention. Even more important, we need to educate our patients on injury prevention when opportunities to do so present themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2014, the latest year for which statistics were available for this article, there were 199,752 deaths from accidental injury, of which 135,928 were unintentional, 42,826 were suicides, and 15,872 were homicides; for 4,597 deaths, the mechanism was undetermined (Table 1). The CDC also reports that whereas the number of deaths from non-communicable diseases such as cardiac disease, cancer and stroke has significantly decreased, the number of deaths from accidental injury increased 23 percent in 2014! In addition, death from traumatic injury due to violence (homicides, terrorism) is also increasing at an alarming rate. As members of a specialty involved in so many phases of trauma care, physician anesthesiologists must be more willing to be involved and to address these important public health issues.
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