NYMC Faculty Publications

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Trauma Service Utilization at a New York City Level I Trauma Center

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Pragmatic and Observational Research

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Obstetrics and Gynecology


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic globally impacted trauma facilities and overall healthcare utilization. This study was conducted to characterize the utilization of trauma services at our Level I Trauma Center in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the preceding pre-pandemic year. METHODS: A retrospective study of patient presenting to our Level 1 Trauma Center in Staten Island, New York. The pre-pandemic data was extracted from March 1st, 2019-February 29th, 2020. The pandemic year was divided into two phases: the initial wave (March 1st-Sept 1st, 2020) and the protracted phase (September 1st, 2020-March 1st, 2021). Patients were identified using ICD-10 coding and data regarding patient factors, mechanism of injury, and service utilization was extracted from the medical record. Statistical analysis was performed using IBM SPSS v.24. RESULTS: A total of 1650 trauma activations registered during the pre-pandemic phase, 691 during the initial wave, and 826 during the protracted phase. Compared to pre-pandemic, the number of Level 1 trauma activations remained unchanged, however mechanisms of injury shifted. Gunshot wounds (2.6% vs 1.2%), motorcycle crash (4.2% vs 2.0%) and blunt force injury caused by an object (strike injuries) (2.7% vs 1.3%) significantly increased during the initial wave (p-value <0.05). There was a significant decrease in the percentage of both female (2.93% vs 2.33% vs 5.64%, p-value <0.01) and pediatric (3.30% vs 3.64% vs 12.9%, p-value <0.001) assault activations during the initial wave and protracted phase when compared to pre-pandemic levels, respectively. No significant changes were observed for self-harm, falls, accidents, burns, sports injuries, stab wounds, autobody collisions, or motor vehicle accident activations. CONCLUSION: Trauma centers should be prepared for increases in violent trauma. We also emphasize the need to implement strategies to raise public awareness of pediatric and female assault in the domestic setting, particularly during a mandatory stay-at-home policy where underreporting may occur.