Development of Case Numbers during the COVID-19 Pandemic in a Center of Maximum-Care for Traumatology and Orthopedic Oncology

(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant change in the utilization of trauma surgery and tumor orthopedic hospital facilities. (2) Methods: In a monocentric retrospective analysis, the weekly numbers of cases requiring intra-clinical treatment in the first four months of 2020 were compared with those of 2019. Patients' visits to the emergency department and shock room, consultation hours, work-related accidents, case numbers in the normal and intensive care units, ventilation hours, the "Simplified Acute Physiology Score/ Therapeutic Intervention Scoring System" (SAPS/TISS), the average length of stay in hospital, the number of operations and their degree of urgency, as well as deaths, were analyzed in a study based on the data from 7606 outpatient consultations in 2019 and 6755 in 2020, as well as 993 inpatient cases in 2019 and 950 in 2020. (3) Results: There was a significant reduction in the number of treatments per week in the emergency department (261 ± 29 vs. 165 ± 25; p < 0.001) with the same number of shock room treatments and fewer consultation hour contacts (226 ± 29 vs. 119 ± 65; p = 0.012). There were fewer inpatient cases (66 ± 7 vs. 42 ± 11; p = 0.001), resulting in a fall in the days of hospitalization (492 ± 63 vs. 308 ± 78; p < 0.001) and number of operations (73 ± 7 vs. 55 ± 10; p = 0.012), especially elective procedures (20 ± 3 vs. 7 ± 7; p = 0.008). The SAPS/TISS score was lower (1351 ± 1213 vs. 399 ± 281; p = 0.023). Fewer fracture treatments and septic surgeries were performed, while the number of procedures to treat orthopedic malignancies remained constant. (4) Conclusions: During the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we observed a significant reduction in the number of cases treated in orthopedics. While the number of multiple-injured patients was unchanged, fewer patients presented for primary and regular care. Treatment of acute injuries and malignant tumor diseases was not at risk. There was no effect on in-house mortality. We see a potential for the recruitment of medical staff from the outpatient department, operating room, and the ward. In the event of a future second wave, our results may allow for early planning, particularly of the all-important human resources. Reorganization by hospitals and decreased patient numbers in trauma surgery can enable the reallocation of medical staff, equipment, and beds to increase capacity for COVID-19 patients.


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