According to the report published by Saudi Gazette, approximately 2,365 people die or become permanently crippled because of head and backbone injuries in Saudi Arabia every month. The local Arabic daily Makkah reported that alone in 2018 there were 12,877 head and 15,507 backbone injuries in the Kingdom. As per the figures released by the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat), there were 15,086 traffic accidents in the Kingdom in 2018.
A consultant in emergency medicine, Dr. Ammar Ismail, claimed that the foremost cause of the head and backbone injuries was car accidents sometimes resulting in death or permanent disability, in the country. Moreover, the medical expert added, the backbone injuries, especially in the upper part of the neck, might cause sudden death while the injuries below the neck might cause permanent disability.
Dr. Ismail attributed the close correlation between the number of road accidents and the number of backbone injuries to the fact that seven passengers would ride in a car with a capacity for five people. He said, with the exception of the driver and those sitting in the front seat, the passengers, in general, did not wear the safety belts. “There were no special seats for children and most of the drivers used mobile phones while driving,” he said.
Dr. Ismail called for quick intervention to take the injured passengers to the hospital and called for severe punishment for careless drivers. He believed that this would greatly reduce the number of deaths and injuries resulting from road accidents.
Moreover, he vocalized the importance of coordination between the health service providers including the Red Crescent, the Health Ministry and the hospitals at the time of the accident as it will save lives in less time. “It should not take more than an hour to transport the injured victims of accidents to the hospital. This will help save their lives and avoid permanent disabilities,” he added.