OBJECTIVE: In the past 2 years hundreds of children in Israel have been injured in terrorist attacks. There is a paucity of data on the epidemiology of terror-related trauma in the pediatric population and its effect on the health care system. The objective of this study was to review the accumulated Israeli experience with medical care to young victims of terrorism and to use the knowledge obtained to contribute to the preparedness of medical personnel for future events. METHODS: Data on all patients who were younger than 18 years and were hospitalized from October 1, 2000, to December 31, 2001, for injuries sustained in a terrorist attack were obtained from the Israel National Trauma Registry. The parameters evaluated were patient age and sex, diagnosis, type, mechanism and severity of injury, interhospital transfer, stay in intensive care unit, duration of hospitalization, and need for rehabilitation. Findings were compared with the general pediatric population hospitalized for non-terror-related trauma within the same time period. RESULTS: During the study period, 138 children were hospitalized for a terror-related injury and 8363 for a non-terror-related injury. The study group was significantly older (mean age: 12.3 years [standard deviation: 5.1] v 6.9 years [standard deviation: 5.3]) and sustained proportionately more penetrating injuries (54% [n = 74] vs 9% [n = 725]). Differences were also noted in the proportion of internal injuries to the torso (11% in the patients with terror-related trauma vs 4% in those with non-terror-related injuries), open wounds to the head (13% vs 6%), and critical injuries (Injury Severity Score of 25+; 25% vs 3%). The study group showed greater use of intensive care unit facilities (33% vs 8% in the comparison group), longer median hospitalization time (5 days vs 2 days), and greater need for rehabilitative care (17% vs 1%). CONCLUSIONS: Terror-related injuries are more severe than non-terror-related injuries and increase the demand for acute care in children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health