Doctors confirm big drop in patients at trauma units since booze ban

A week after the sale and distribution of alcohol ban was reintroduced under level 3 of the lockdown regulations; the pressure on hospitals beds has decreased                                  Picture: Tyler Olson/

A week after the ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol was reintroduced under level 3 of the lockdown regulations, the pressure on hospitals beds has decreased.

This was revealed during a discussion on Radio 702 on Monday focusing on the effectiveness of the reintroduced ban and night-time curfew a week ago.

Speaking to 702, Dr Patricia Saffy, the trauma unit head at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg, said they had seen an over 60% decrease in the number of assault admissions.

“We have clearly seen a decrease in the number of trauma-related incidents like assault with stabbing and assault without stabbing, as well as motor vehicle collisions.

“This week we only saw 36 assaults, so there has been a massive drop. From a 100 per week to just 36 assaults. The trauma statistics have reduced tremendously due to the ban and curfew,” said Saffy on the show.

Head of the Western Cape’s Groote Schuur Hospital, Carmen Miller, expressed similar sentiments.

“Our trauma patients have decreased since the alcohol ban, and that has made a difference. However, we must also think of our staff. Some of our staff are also testing positive and we need to accommodate them also.

“The week before the ban was reinstated we were seeing up to 123 patients a day and since the ban the assaults and gun shot wound cases have decreased amazingly,” said  Miller.

She said fewer admissions had enabled hospitals to send staff out to communities hit by Covid-19.

Mande Toubkin, the trauma and emergency care head at Netcare, hailed the ban. He said it had resulted in fewer motor accidents — by as much as 51% compared to when the country was under level 5 of the lockdown.

“When we went down to level 3, our emergency department reported that there was a significant increase in motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian-vehicle accidents, domestic violence and alcohol-related trauma,” she said on the show.

By Nonkululeko Njilo – TimesLIVE

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