CAPE TOWN - While the country’s hospitals brace for the possible onslaught of COVID-19 cases, one of Cape Town’s major trauma centres is catching a breather.
Groote Schuur Hospital is known to treat more than 2,000 gang-related trauma cases a year.
But the COVID-19 lockdown has led to a sharp decline in patients needing emergency trauma treatment.
From treating an average of 150 patients on any given weekend, the hospital is down to around only 40.
“In South Africa, we have always been faced with this problem of having a trauma epidemic," said Head of Trauma at Groote Schuur, Professor Andrew Nicol.
"From our viewpoint as trauma surgeons, we’ve always considered this epidemic to be preventable and what we are seeing after three weeks of the lockdown, is a massive reduction, almost a two-thirds reduction in the number of trauma cases we are seeing presenting to our trauma units.”
Prof Nicol credits the reduction in cases to the ban on alcohol, restricted movement and effective policing.
He believes trauma is a public health issue and that if people change the way they conduct their lives, the levels of trauma can be dramatically reduced.