Deakin University

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Injury patterns of mass casualty incidents involving high-speed passenger ferries presenting to accident and emergency departments in Hong Kong: a retrospective review

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-17, 04:56 authored by RPK Lam, RTM Wong, EHY Lau, KW Wong, ACK Cheung, VK Chaang, L Chen, TC Tsang, TK Chan, PPY Chee, FHF Ko, CS Leung, SM Yang
Background: Accidents involving high-speed passenger ferries have the potential to cause mass-casualty incidents (MCIs), yet there is a lack of relevant studies available to inform hospital disaster preparedness planning. Objective: The objective was to study the injury patterns and outcomes of MCI victims involved in high-speed passenger ferry accidents in Hong Kong waters. Methods: A retrospective study was conducted from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2015. All MCIs involving high-speed passenger ferries were captured from the Marine Department of Hong Kong. Victims of all age who were sent to the accident and emergency departments (A&Es) of seven public hospitals around Victoria Harbour, including three trauma centres, were identified from electronic disaster registries of the study hospitals. Data on injury patterns and outcomes were extracted from medical records with the Injury Severity Score (ISS) calculated for each victim. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare medians of the ISS across different mechanisms of injury. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify independent predictors for major trauma (ISS≥16). Results: During the study period, eight MCIs involving high-speed passenger ferries were reported and 512 victims (median age: 44 years, age range: 2–85 years) were sent to the study hospitals. The A&E triage categories were Cat 1, 3.1%; Cat 2, 4.3%; Cat 3, 19.3%; Cat 4, 72.9%; and Cat 5, 0.4%, respectively. The median ISS was 1.0 (interquartile range: 1.0–2.0). Fourteen victims (2.7%) had an ISS≥16 and age was the only independent predictor for major trauma (OR 1.06, p = .0.025, 95% CI 1.01–1.11). Trauma call was activated at A&E for 11 victims. In total, 100 victims (19.5%) were admitted to the study hospitals, including 19 (3.5%) and 15 (2.9%) who required surgery and intensive care unit stay, respectively. Eleven victims (2.1%) died, mostly due to drowning. Conclusion: MCIs involving high-speed passenger ferries can result in a sudden surge in demand for both A&E and in-patient care, though the majority of victims may have minor injuries. Better access to lifejackets and mandatory seatbelt use may help to reduce injuries and deaths.
















Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal




Elsevier BV