The Medical Advances That Mask a Rising Tide of Violence: Major Study Finds Trauma Care Saved Hundreds of Potential Murder Victims

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A major new study suggests that England’s violent crime wave is even worse than headline figures suggest and that the country would have seen up to 1,656 more deaths to homicide and serious injury without advances in trauma care.

The independent report, compiled by the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN) at the University of Manchester and published in ClinicalMedicine by The Lancet, examined severe injury outcomes for  110,000 patients admitted to 35 hospitals between 2008 and 2017, and found that survival chances have increased by almost 20 percent.

“This study shows that changes to trauma care, designed by clinicians, are saving hundreds of lives every year,” commented Professor Chris Moran, NSE England’s National Clinical Director for Trauma Care.

“Major Trauma Centres deal with the victims of stabbings and acid attacks as well as car and motorbike accidents,” he added.

“We have all seen the terrible increase in knife crime in our cities, especially in London, and there is no doubt that the new trauma system has saved many lives as these patients receive blood transfusion and specialist surgery much quicker than before.”

While the increased survival odds for victims of violent attacks and accidents as a result of medical advances is welcome, the figures also suggest that the severity of Britain’s violent crime wave is, if anything, understated.

Figures released by the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee showing an astonishing 44 percent surge in the murder rate in Britain’s capital in the year to March 2018, for example, may have been even more dramatic were doctors and paramedics not so much better at bringing the severely injured people back from the brink of death than they were previously.

Ambulance crews and are clear that the situation is much worse than in previous years. For example, Dr Gareth Grier, lead clinician for the London Air Ambulance — which is now attending more stabbings and shootings than road traffic accidents for the first time in its 30-year history — has said it is now “not unusual now for our teams to perform open-chest surgery for stab wounds twice in a single day… This would have been unheard of a few years back.”

Hospital staff, similarly, describe a rapidly deteriorating situation — with Dr Martin Griffiths, a consultant surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, saying London in 2018 is “looking more like South Africa” than Great Britain, and that “military colleagues have described their practice [in his hospital] as similar to being at [Camp] Bastion” in Afghanistan.

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