CAPE TOWN – Groote Schuur Hospital’s trauma unit said on Tuesday it has seen a phenomenal reduction in the number of trauma cases at the facility during the coronavirus lockdown, attributing to restricted access to alcohol.
The hospital has seen a two-thirds drop in trauma cases since the COVID-19 lockdown and a ban on liquor sales were implemented.
The unit usually sees about 1,100 patients a month, and about 60% of these cases are related to interpersonal violence.
Head of Groote Schuur Hospital’s trauma unit, Andrew Nicol, said that the facility usually dealt with 70% of its cases between a Friday afternoon and Monday morning.
He said that on a normal weekend, the trauma unit received at least 150 patients but over the past weekend, staff dealt with only 37 trauma cases.
“If you look at the patterns of the trauma that we encounter, it’s all predominantly over the weekend, so that about 50% of the trauma that we see is alcohol-related.”
Nicol said that the trauma unit was placed under intense pressure with a large number of gunshot injuries, about 80 to 85 cases every month.
“To suddenly have that taken off our hands is a huge relief as that takes up a huge amount of our resources, patients needing intensive care, needing admission and obviously a lot of operating.”
He said that they were concerned that trauma cases would rapidly increase after the lockdown is lifted.