Morbidity following Mexico City's 1985 earthquakes: clinical and epidemiologic findings from hospitals and emergency units.
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Morbidity following Mexico City's 1985 earthquakes: clinical and epidemiologic findings from hospitals and emergency units.

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    Public Health Rep
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    Medical records of 822 inpatients and outpatients cared for by the Department of the Federal District medical services during the 1985 Mexico City earthquakes were reviewed. Record incompleteness varied between 92.8 percent and 14.0 percent for the various study variables. No gender differences were detected among the groups; more than 70.0 percent of the patients were ages 15 to 64 years. Multiple traumatic injuries were frequent for inpatients across age groups, while simple contusions were more frequent among outpatients. Multiple head traumas, thorax-abdomen multiple traumas, and simple fractures of an arm or leg were more frequently recorded for inpatients than for outpatients. Head wounds with contusions; simple contusion of the thorax-abdomen, arms, and legs; and psychological trauma were more frequently recorded for outpatients. Although a great many records were incomplete, the data may reflect what actually happened to these patients, given the similarity of the findings with other reports of disasters. Improved record keeping during emergencies is needed to standardize the quantity and the reliability of the data so that statistical and medical care requirements are soundly based. The use of standard questionnaires for data collection is stressed to facilitate the management of clinical and epidemiologic activities. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine patterns of physical injuries, psychological trauma, and survival.
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