The hospital’s senior management team is aiming to increase public awareness of the importance of safe road practices while fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Head of Trauma Surgery at Hamad General Hospital (HGH) Level I Trauma Center, Dr Hassan Al Thani, said:
Deaths from road traffic injuries were more than double during the month of Ramadan in 2013 compared to other months; this is especially the case for young men who are more likely to be involved in the more serious traffic accidents…We call on all families and road users in Qatar to pay special attention to their road safety during this period to decrease the number of road traffic accidents. By ensuring that all passengers in a vehicle use seatbelts and children are placed in designated car seats, we can considerably reduce the number of unnecessary accidents and deaths. Given that young men form the majority of the casualties experienced, we must educate them about the importance of responsible driving.’
In 2013, during Ramadan there were 31 deaths from injuries sustained on the roads in Qatar, including passenger, driver and pedestrian victims. The average number of road deaths for similar periods is only 14-15, according to key findings of the Hamad Injury Prevention Program (HIPP) of the HGH Trauma Surgery Section. Dr Rafael Consunji, Director of the HIPP, said:
More than 60% of these deaths occurred at the scene of the crash or before arriving at the hospital. This means that the injuries sustained were so severe and probably caused by high-speed collisions…The fatalities were almost all males with 23% being children under 18 years of age. More than 70% of the fatalities are younger than the age of 30. Victims from GCC countries were much younger (average age of 20 years) than expatriates (average age of 31 years) and comprised over half of all of the fatalities.’
‘If we all drove within the approved speed limits, used a seatbelt, and avoided distractions such as mobile phones while driving, and impaired driving while tired or sleepy, then this year’s Ramadan will be safer and happier for many more families. All of Qatar’s residents must work together to make safer driving practices a habit. It is only through partnerships that sustained improvements in the road safety environment can be realised.’
HGH’s leadership team has previously conveyed concerns about the high number of accidents involving young men during Ramadan. The role of the HGH Level I Trauma Center in Qatar is not only to treat victims of trauma but also to learn lessons from the past and exercise the due diligence and best efforts to ensure that these lessons benefit our society.