The Crisis of Deficiency in Emergency Coverage for Hand and Facial Trauma: Exploring the Discrepancy Between Availability of Elective and Emergency Surgical Coverage

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Injuries are one of the most common reasons for emergency department visits, with approximately 40.2 million injury-related visits occurring in 2011. Facial, hand, and wrist injuries make up a large portion of these visits. Despite the high demand for specialists to attend to these injury-related emergency department visits, recent studies have suggested a discrepancy between elective surgical coverage and trauma care in general. The goal of this study was to determine if there was a difference between access to elective surgical procedures in comparison with on-call emergency care for facial and hand/wrist conditions in New York State.


Hospitals throughout New York State, excluding New York City, were selected from the Department of Health Web site, A phone survey was administered between May 2012 and October 2013, to quantify the availability of elective and emergent procedures for facial and hand/wrist conditions. We compared the availability of emergency facial and hand/wrist surgical care based on hospital characteristics such as bed size and access to a surgical intensive care unit.


We selected 113 hospitals, and 52 hospitals participated for a response rate of 46%. A total of 88% of hospitals offered elective hand procedures, but only 27% had consistent coverage for emergency hand trauma. Furthermore, only 29 % of hospitals had a facial specialist consistently available whereas the availability for elective facial procedures was 79%.


Our study results show a discrepancy between the availability of surgeons for elective procedures and on-call emergency care for facial and hand/wrist condition.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles