Orthopedic Problems in Agricultural Trauma

  • Lucas, George L.;
  • Wirka HW, Herman W.


Accidents are responsible for twice as many deaths in persons one to 25 years old as the next two most frequent fatal diseases combined. During the next 20 years of life, accidents are superceded only by cardiac disease as the cause of death. Accidents incurred while at work are responsible for a substantial portion of these deaths, and in this group agricultural mishaps contribute a major portion. The number of agricultural deaths is not only prodigious, but rather than showing a decrease s in some other industrial categories, is actually rising. More importantly, for each agricultural injury resulting in death, there are approximately 100 nonfatal injuries of varying severity. These are responsible for an amount of time lost from work which has been conservatively estimated at 20,000,000 working days per year. The etiologic agents in such accidents excluding motor vehicle accidents on rural highways, are predominately falls and machinery. More fundamentally perhaps, 70 per cent of farm accidents can be ascribed to carelessness, fatigue, and haste; i.e., theoretically preventable.

The concern of the orthopedic surgeon becomes obvious when one notes the nature of the traumatic event and resultant lesion in most farm injuries. It can be seen from this small series of cases that agricultural trauma produces serious musculoskeletal injury. In this report, fundamental principles of surgical treatment, general supportive care, proper splintage, adequate cleansing and debridement of wounds, prevention of infection, and secure fixation of fractures are stressed. Modalities o treatment of such injuries are not likely to improve appreciably in the near future, whereas we can expect some improvement in rural medical facilities. However, until each individual farmer maintains a constant awareness of the danger of his tools and environment and healthy respect for them, farm accidents will continue to occur at a substantial rate.


JOURNAL: Wis Med J. 1965; 64(12): 471-475.

Note: Wisconsin Medical Journal.

NLOM ID#: No ID #.

This document was extracted from the CDC-NIOSH Epidemiology of Farm Related Injuries: Bibliography With Abstracts, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

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