18% of farm accident victims admitted to ICU…with dairy deemed most dangerous

18% of farm accident victims needed to be admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), while almost 20% of victims requiring surgery, according to a new study on Irish farm safety.

The research paper, entitled “Trauma on Farms in the Republic of Ireland”, was written by Dr. Michael Sheehan, Dr. Conor Deasy and Louise Brent and published today, Monday, July 20, to coincide with the start of Farm Safety Week.

The paper was a study of the data collected as part of the Major Trauma Audit at the National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA).

The paper, which examines the period 2014-2016, is the first significant study concerning this topic in Ireland, and shed light on a number of eye-opening statistics.

Current data indicate that dairy farming is the most dangerous type of farming in the Republic of Ireland.

The age profile of farmers sustaining major trauma is older than in other industries – with a median age of 54.5 years. Because they are older, many have other medical conditions making their treatment more complex when they sustain major injuries.

Limbs were the most common body region injured (32%), followed by chest injuries (21%), spine injuries (16%) and head injuries (15%).

Almost one in five patients required surgery, while 18% required admission to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The most common mechanism of injury was a blow from an animal, accounting for 29% of injuries, followed by falls on 27%.

Summer was the most common season for injuries.

Source: National Office of Clinical Audit
Source: National Office of Clinical Audit

Unsurprisingly, 96% of patients were presented to hospital between 8:00am and 12:00am.

The majority of patients were discharged back to their own home; however, many needed further care in a subsequent hospital or ongoing rehabilitation.

2.6% of patients died in hospital, most commonly due to head injury, the study found.