Are road-smash victims dying unnecessarily? As our road toll reaches a seven-year high, the NZ Transport Agency has called in a team of Australian experts to review post-trauma
New Zealand Listener article by Donna Chisholm | www.noted.co.nz | @NZListener
The following extract is from ‘After the Crash’ article:
On the computer screen in surgeon Grant Christey’s office is a map of the Midland district his trauma system covers. It takes in major centres, including New Plymouth, Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga and Gisborne, and comprises five district health boards: Tairāwhiti, Taranaki, Lakes, Bay of Plenty and Waikato.
On this map are hundreds of brightly coloured dots, each colour signifying a type of incident: red for assault; cyan for motorbike crashes, for example – that have resulted in one or more patients being taken to hospital. Each of the dots has a story to tell through a mind-boggling depth of data.
Christey clicks on a cluster of motorbike crashes in Ngatea in the past five years. “There’s your demographic,” he says. “Exactly what we would expect.” You might think he’s referring to 15-25 year-old “road warriors”, a traditional black-spot group for crash statistics. He’s not. These victims are predominantly aged 55-59, the “accountants on Harleys”.
“The new motorbike injury patient is the older rider, because they’ve got the money to buy the big bikes and they’ve got leisure time.”
The data could help save lives. The Midland Trauma Research Centre has teamed up with the NZ Transport Agency to investigate motorbike crashes in the Waikato, so rider groups, roads and conditions at higher risk can be identified.
In the Waikato DHB, more than 1000 crashes in the past five years have cost at least $2 million in hospital treatment alone.
Find out more about Midland Trauma System.