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Objective : The purpose of this study was estimate the number of preventable trauma deaths in teaching hospitals in Tehran.

Methods : We evaluated the complete prehospital, hospital, and postmortem data of 70 trauma patients who had died during a 1-year period in two of the largest university hospitals in Tehran with a multidisciplinary panel of experts.

Results : Panel members identified 26% of all trauma deaths as preventable deaths. From 31 non-central nervous system-related deaths, 17 and 6 cases were identified as surely preventable and probably preventable, respectively. In central nervous system-related deaths, 5% of the deaths overall (2 of 38 cases) were identified as surely preventable or probably preventable. Sixty-four cases of medical errors were identified in 31 trauma deaths and 80% of these errors were directly related to the death of the patients.

Conclusion : The high preventable trauma death rate in our teaching hospitals indicates that a relatively significant percentage of trauma fatalities could have been prevented by improving prehospital and in-hospital trauma care.

(C) 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.