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Original Research

Glass injuries seen in the emergency department of a South African district hospital

Doudou Nzaumvila, Indiran Govender, Efraim B. Kramer

African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine; Vol 7, No 1 (2015), 8 pages. doi: 10.4102/phcfm.v7i1.886

Submitted: 18 May 2015
Published:  25 September 2015


Background: The emergency department of Embhuleni Hospital frequently manages patients with glass-related injuries. This study assessed these injuries and the glass that caused them in more detail.

Aim: The objectives of our study included determining the type of glass causing these injuries and describing the circumstances associated with different types of glass injuries.

Setting: The emergency department of Embhuleni Hospital in Elukwatini, Mpumalanga province, South Africa.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study with a sample size of 104 patients. Descriptive statistics were used to assess the characteristics of the glass injuries.

Results: Five different types of glass were reported to have caused the injuries, namely car glass (7.69%), glass ampoules (3.85%), glass bottles (82.69%), glass windows (3.85%) and street glass shards (1.92%). Glass bottle injuries were mainly caused by assaults (90.47%) and most victims were mostly young males (80.23%). The assaults occurred at alcohol-licensed premises in 65.11% of cases. These injuries occurred mostly over weekends (83.72%), between 18:00 and 04:00. The face (34.23%) and the scalp (26.84%) were the sites that were injured most often.

Conclusion: Assault is the most common cause of glass injuries, usually involving young men at alcohol-licensed premises. Glass injuries generally resulted in minor lacerations, with few complications (2.68%).

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Author affiliations

Doudou Nzaumvila, Department of Family Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa
Indiran Govender, Department of Family Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa
Efraim B. Kramer, Division of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa



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