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Characterisation of patients treated at the Red Cross field hospital in Kashmir during the first three weeks of operation
  1. M Helminen1,
  2. E Saarela2,
  3. J Salmela3
  1. 1Pediatric Research Centre, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
  2. 2Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
  3. 3International Committee of the Red Cross, Islamabad, Pakistan
  1. Correspondence to:
 M Helminen
 Pediatric Research Centre, Tampere University Hospital, P.O. Box 2000, Fin-33521 Tampere, Finland; merja.helminen{at}


Objective: To evaluate the characteristics of patients treated at a field hospital in the first month after a major earthquake.

Methods: Age, sex, diagnosis, and operations performed on patients admitted to the field hospital of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Pakistani Kashmir between 21 October and 10 November 2005 were recorded and the data analysed.

Results: During the three week period of this study, 316 patients were treated at the hospital; 246 were women and children (77.9%). Two thirds were hospitalised, over 90% because of the need for surgery or surgical consultation. Altogether 345 operations were performed on 157 patients. The majority of patients had infected wounds with or without fractures.

Conclusions: Most patients need medical evaluation in consequence of earthquake-related trauma even weeks after the catastrophe, especially in areas difficult of access.

  • ICRC, International Committee of the Red Cross
  • earthquake
  • trauma
  • natural disaster

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  • Competing interests: none declared

  • No ethical committee approval was required for collecting or publishing the data. The patient material was collected as part of the routine practice of the hospital. At the point of data analysis all personal identifiers were removed.

    The approval of the International Committee of the Red Cross was obtained for publication.