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Gunshot Injuries Involving Musculo-Skeletal System at the Federal Medical Centre, Lagos

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Background Gunshot injury (GSI) is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. It is important to study the circumstances and type of injuries for policy formulation to reduce its occurrence. Objective This is to study the demographic profile of GSI patients to assist policy design and reduce its incidence in Nigeria. Method This is a two year prospective study of the pattern of GSI to the musculoskeletal system using observer administered questionnaires at a tertiary health centre in Lagos, Nigeria and a review of the outcome of the treatment of these injuries. Results Fifty four patients with gunshot injury to the musculoskeletal system were studied accounting for (10.3%) of the five hundred and twenty four (524) patients with musculoskeletal injuries treated in the hospital during the period under study. The peak incidencewas in the age group 21-30 years and 41-50 years. The limbs (84.1%) were themost affected parts of the body. Policemen (42.6%) and traders (28.9%) were the most commonly affected people. Violent crime accounted for 85.2% of GSI; Low velocity rifles were the commonest weapon of assault (59.3%). Unfortunately a large number of the patients (44.4%) declined orthodox treatment opting for traditional care. Unintentional shooting occurred in only 11.1%of cases. Conclusion Majority of GSI occurred inmale young people especially policemen and traders. The need for local businessmen to use “cashless” transfer of funds needs to be emphasized. Law enforcement officers need more training and better equipment to effectively confront criminal elements. KeyWords: Gunshot injury, musculo-skeletal system

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