The hidden dangers of staying home: a London trauma unit experience of lockdown during the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in reconfiguration of the NHS. Elective services were stopped and trauma services focused on decreasing patient-clinician interactions and managing injuries nonoperatively wherever possible. The everyday life of the general public changed dramatically with the introduction of a national lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This paper looks at the experience of a South West London trauma unit.All patients reviewed in fracture clinic and by the orthopaedic on-call team between 23 March to 23 April 2020 were included. Data on the mechanism of injury and whether this was a usual activity, the injury sustained and its management were collected.A total of 167 trauma injuries were seen, compared with 735 new patients with injuries in the previous month. The number of trauma operations completed decreased by 38%; 55% of injuries occurred inside the home and 44% outside the home during daily exercise. Some 31% of injuries were secondary to a new activity taken up during lockdown. Three open fractures and two polytrauma cases were seen that would have normally been managed at the local major trauma centre.Overall, both the number of injuries seen and trauma operations completed during the enforced lockdown decreased. This is probably due to a change in the way the general public are living their lives, and the reconfigurations within the NHS in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an interesting time within trauma and orthopaedic departments, as they continue to adapt to the changing injuries and working environment.
Authors: L Oliver-Welsh, C Richardson, D A Ward