A New War Again: A New War Again: Role and Experience of Al-Yarmouk Teaching Hospital during the 2003 War in Iraq

A New War Again: Role and Experience of Al-Yarmouk Teaching Hospital during the 2003 War in Iraq

  • IMJ Iraqi Medical Journal
Keywords: Hospital preparation, Civilian Hospital in war



Background: Al-Yarmouk Teaching Hospital is a major general hospital in the capital city Baghdad. Over all hospital functions include outpatient consultation clinics receiving more than 1000 patients per day with an admission rate of 120 per day, as well as the supply of health services in different branches.

Objectives: To assess our plans in preparing the hospital for massive new war injuries which include guidelines on how to manage an influx of the wounded, set out a system for managing patients as from admission to discharge or their referral to other hospitals, the problems faced and finally our suggestions.

Methods: These included the preparation of the civilian hospital expecting war with regards to administration, surgical staff, building, communications, security and patients’ management during the period March 20th, 2003 to April 6th, 2003 (the failure day of  the hospital), with the types, the severity of injuries, the mortality and morbidity.

Results: The total number of injured people during the period March 20th – April 6th 2003 who were admitted to the hospital was 1160. The number of the wounded civilians were 636 (54.8%), the military (including policemen and traffic personnel) where 347 (29.9%). The total mortality was 177 (15.3%) with 165 being either brought-in dead or died within twenty minutes of their arrival to the emergency room. The male to female distribution was 74.7% and 25.3% respectively. The majority of the injured patients were at the age of 21-30 years. The injury severity was classified into three categories.

The largest group included injures of the limbs, vertebral column and the back (684) patients, while 152 patients had limbs injuries and the back alone but not associated with other injuries. Head and neck injuries constituted 140 patients.

Multiple injuries over all the body constituted 321, while abdominal and chest injuries were next common. The injuries among the wounded were either due to direct missile, cluster bombs or blast induced. The City’s central electrical power supply as well as the telephone communications were also bombed and were shutdown in week two of the war.

Conclusion: Proper preparation of the hospital as well as team work groups decreased mortality and morbidity. This new war had no deadlines and does not differentiate between civilians and the military personnel.

Key Words: Hospital preparation, Civilian Hospital in war, Injury.

Iraqi Medical Journal Vol. 54, No. 1, June 2008; p. 16-23.

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