Railroad accidents: A metropolitan experience of death and injury

Daniel Spaite, Elizabeth Criss, Terence Valenzuela, Harvey W. Meislin, J. Randall Ogden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


A review of all railroad-related deaths and significant injuries that occurred in a medium-sized metropolitan area from January 1, 1979, to June 30, 1986, was conducted. Autopsy reports were obtained for each fatality, and pre-hospital data were retrieved for all railroad-related injuries resulting in emergency medical services dispatch. There were ten fatalities (24%) and 31 survivors. The average age was 31.2 years (range, 1 to 67). Thirty-seven (90%) were men. Eleven persons (27%) were intoxicated (average blood alcohol of 279 mg/dL; range, 140 to 460). Of the 30 survivors transported, hospital records were available for 24. Thirteen were hospitalized and ten underwent surgery. Six major amputations occurred among survivors. Six patients had an Injury Severity Score of more than 15. Three mechanisms of injury occurred: falls on or from a train (56%); pedestrians hit by a train (41%), which accounted for all fatalities; and a train-automobile accident. This is the first comprehensive review of all significant railroad-related injuries in a metropolitan area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-625
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1988


  • accidents, railroad
  • trauma, accidents, railroad

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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