Physical assault injury patients admitted in New Mulago Hospital.
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Physical assault injury (PAI) is sustained as a result of violence used by one person with intent to cause harm, injury or death to another. Though it is agreed that physical assault injury is a common cause to hospital admissions in New Mulago Hospital, there is no published information specifically on the pattern of injury to enable general preventive measures to be adopted. The main objective of the study was to investigate the common clinical and demographic characteristics of physical assault injuries admitted to Mulago Hospital. It was both descriptive and analytical and lasted three months. One hundred and ninety three patients who were physically assaulted and subsequently needed hospitalization were recruited in the study. A questionnaire was used to collect data from the patients and the next of kin or police officers and pathologists. All patients who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were recruited. The follow up lasted two weeks to determine early complications in those who survived long enough. It was found out that physical assault injury occurred frequently in the age group 20 to 40 years. More males were involved than females (Males: Females is 5:1). Most injuries were minor (Injury Severity Score, 1 to 15) and involved the upper extremities (Head, face and upper limbs). Though most weapons used were blunt, the mortality was 13%, all of them males. Death occurred mostly in the multiply injured patients and in the first 24 hours following the injury, suggesting probable inadequacy of timely resuscitatory measures both at the site of injury and in the hospital. It was concluded that physical assault injury is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in Mulago hospital surgical emergency admissions. A multidisciplinary approach is recommended in preventing physical assault injuries.