Objective: Natural disasters have a significant impact on the health sector. On April 25, 2015, Nepal was struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The aim of the study was to compare patient volumes and clinical conditions presenting to the emergency department pre- and post-earthquake. Methods: A retrospective study was done at Patan Hospital Emergency Department in Kathmandu, Nepal. Volume, demographics, and patient diagnoses were collected for 4 months post-disaster and compared with cases seen the same months the year before the disaster to control for seasonal variations. Results: After the 2015 Nepal earthquake, 12,180 patients were seen in the emergency department. This was a significant decrease in patient volume compared with the 14,971 patients seen during the same months in 2014 (P=0.04). Of those, 5496 patients (4093 pre-disaster and 1433 post-disaster) had a chief complaint or diagnosis recorded for analysis. An increase in cardiovascular and respiratory cases was seen as well as an increase in psychiatric cases (mostly alcohol related) and cases of anemia. There was a decrease in the number of obstetrics/gynecology, infectious disease, and poisoning cases post-earthquake. Conclusions: Understanding emergency department utilization after the earthquake has the potential to give further insight into improving disaster preparedness plans for post-disaster health needs.
- disaster preparedness
- emergency care
- health care utilization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health