Objectives: To evaluate inmate referrals to emergency department of a tertiary healthcare facility in terms of demographical and clinical characteristics as well as their impact on the department.
Method: The retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted at Ankara Numune Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey, and comprised data of incarcerated patients who were brought to the emergency department from January 01, 2010, to December 31, 2012. . Demographical characteristics, consultations, duration of hospitalisation, recurrent admissions, disposal and mortality rates were noted. The referrals were grouped as surgical conditions, medical disorders, Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat problems, injury and psychiatric disorders. The groups were then subdivided according to diagnosis. SPSS 22 was used for data analysis.
Results: Of the 856 patients, 804(93.4%) were men and 52(6.1%) were women. The overall mean age was 37.54±14.81 years (range: 15-83 years). The number of patients was the highest in the medical group 363(42.4%) and the lowest in the Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat group 56(6.5%). Mean age of the surgical group was significantly lower than the medical group (p<0.001) but significantly higher than that of the trauma group (p=0.001).
Conclusion: Functional emergency response units, strict emergency triage of inmates, and their rapid care and management in jails can help avoid referring these patients to already overcrowded emergency departments.
Key Words: Prisoners, Healthcare, Emergency department.