Every Christmas we hear about the ‘holiday death toll’, those happy holidays that for some people in an instant become tragic. But road accidents and trauma are not just a holiday phenomenon; trauma alone is estimated to cost the country more $43 million per year in hospital bills.
Over 5000 people in the Midland health region are hospitalised each year as a result of injury, 300 of whom will sustain severe or life-threatening injuries.
It is these haunting realities that have led to the launch of the first Midland Trauma Research Centre.
Based at Waikato Hospital the research center aims to find ways to not only prevent trauma but reduce the burden of it on patients, families and the wider community.
The research will be led by trauma specialist Dr Grant Christey who said the centre would bring together the clinicians, academics and community representatives that can help find the solutions.
“Trauma has a profound effect on our community, however, much of it is preventable with targeted interventions and changes in thinking and attitude,” said Dr Christey.
Research shows that trauma is the greatest cause of death in New Zealanders aged between five and 50 and is responsible for the greatest number of lives lost where there were no prior indicators of death.
The research is backed by sports legend Rob Waddell, who was announced as the patron of the centre by Waikato DHB chief executive Dr Nigel Murray .
“Having Rob’s support for this incredible work also helps us reach out into our communities,” said Dr Murray.
The collaborative research will come from the valuable information collected through the Midland Trauma Registry.
Dr Christey said the research will be practical, efficient and regionally focused.
“With the help of community support we will be able to fulfil our promise by employing specialised staff for advanced research that will reduce the burden of trauma on our communities.”
The research centre is seeking partnerships within the community to help fund the research and promotion required. Reducing the amount of injury even by 1 per cent would equal enough funding for the next five years of research.