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Pattern of civilian gunshot injuries in Irrua, Nigeria

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This retrospective review of 76 patients with gunshot wounds was undertaken to evaluate the pattern and outcome of civilian gunshot injuries in our region. The extremities were the most commonly affected site (51.5% of all gunshot wounds). Gunshot injuries were most common among young males in the third decade of life, and armed robbery was the cause of gunshot trauma in 69.7% of cases. Time from injury to arrival at hospital was less than 6 hours in 64.4% of cases. Wound exploration and debridement were the mode of treatment in the majority of cases. Hypovolaemia resulting from acute haemorrhage accounted for 52.9% of complications. The mortality rate was 5.3%. It is pertinent to observe that inefficient firearm control is a major factor contributing to civilian gunshot injuries in our region. In addition, high rates of unemployment and poverty in our society may be contributing to the increasing incidence of youth restiveness, armed robbery and associated gunshot injuries. Strong government legislation is required to provide adequate security for the teeming civilian population. The national government should embark on a poverty eradication strategy and engage the youth in gainful employment to reduce the incidence of youth restiveness, armed robbery and firearm-related violence. South African Journal of Surgery Vol. 43 (4) 2005: pp. 170-172


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