Print version ISSN 0213-9111
Objectives: To assess level of fulfilment and utility of the hospital discharge register (HDR) as a complementary source of information for estimating the number of deaths at 30 days due to motor vehicle crashes in Spain. Methods: It is a cros-sectional study were we compared the number of people injured due to motor vehicle crashes hospitalised in a public hospital (HDR), in Spain during 2001, with the number of people severely injured or killed due to motor vehicle crashes reported by the police database (Dirección General de Tráfico, DGT) for the same year. A descriptive analysis was carried out by age, sex and region (Autonomous Community), as well as an estimation of the percentage of under-reporting of deaths by the DGT based on two assumptions. Results: Police reported 27,272 severe injuries and 4,811 deaths during first 24 hours after the crash and after applying a fatality adjustment factor estimated 706 more deaths up to 30 days after the crash. The HDR reported 40,174 urgent hospitalisations. Of these, 1,099 died during the day of hospitalisation or within the following 30 days. The police only notified 68% of all cases that required hospitalisation. According to the number of deaths reported by police and contrasted with hospital register, estimations of the number of deaths at 30 days made by police could represent a level of under-reporting of between 3% and 6.6%, depending on the assumption considered. Conclusions: This study showed that the HDR is an information source that complements police statistics and is useful to estimate the number of deaths and non-fatal injuries due to motor vehicle crashes in Spain.
Keywords : Injury; Traffic accident; Police database; Hospital discharge; Under-reporting; Fatalities.