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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 120-123

Incidence of leaving against medical advice (LAMA) among patients admitted at the accident and emergency unit of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria

Department of Surgery, UCTH, RM.B. 1278, Calabar, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
A M Udosen
Department of Surgery, UCTH, RM.B. 1278, Calabar, Nigeria

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 17319342

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BACKGROUND: The causes and incidence of the commonly observed phenomenon of leaving against medical advice (LAMA) in our hospitals have not been studied. This retrospective study was aimed at evaluating its incidence and pattern in order to suggest possible solutions. METHODOLOGY: The case files of patients who left against medical advice at the Casualty unit of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital between July 2002 and December 2003 were retrieved from the Medical Records Department and information regarding age, sex, education/occupation, religion, diagnosis, reason(s) for leaving and duration of stay in casualty were extracted. RESULTS: A total of 3708 patients were seen at the casualty unit within this period. Ninety-seven patients left against medical advice but only ninety case notes were analyzable. Seven folders had incomplete information. Male/Female ratio was 2:1 and the ages ranged between 7 and 70 years (average 31.5 years). The average duration of stay in Hospital was 2.4 days (110 days). Sixty-five patients (72.2%) were those who had various forms of trauma while 8 (8.8%) had general surgical problems. 19% (17) patients had medical emergencies. CONCLUSION: The youths are the most vulnerable group and the principal causes in our environment are ignorance and poverty. Because of poor documentation in our centres, it was not possible to know where these patients go and the results of their treatments. There is therefore a need for further studies.

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