Assaults 40 Times More Deadly For India Women Than US Counterparts

Scientists from India, US and Sweden revealed that women in India are nearly 40 times more likely to die after an assault compared to their US peers.

AsianScientist (Sep. 7, 2017) – In a study published in the journal BMJ Global Health, an international team of researchers has revealed that women in India are nearly 40 times more likely to die after being assaulted than are their female peers in the US.

The top three causes of injury across the world are falls, road traffic accidents and assaults. The severity of these injuries may vary, and there is limited data on the likelihood of death from these incidents.

In this study, the researchers drew on information submitted to Indian (11,670 cases) and US (14,155 cases) trauma databases from 2013 to 2015 for the top three causes of injury. The Indian database comprised patients at four hospitals in Kolkata, Mumbai, and Delhi—‘megacities’ with more than 10 million inhabitants. The US database included patients treated at three level one trauma centers in the medium sized city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

After rail transport and burn injuries had been excluded, and the cases matched for trauma type/severity, age, and gender, the final analysis included 7,505 Indian and 9,448 US cases.

Both men and women in the US had between five and seven times lower odds of dying after a fall or a road traffic accident than did their counterparts in India.

Comparative analysis showed that Indian men were more likely to die after sustaining any one of the three categories of injury than either Indian women or US men and women. On the other hand, US men were three times as likely to die after sustaining a fall than were US women.

To explain this finding, the researchers point to previous studies showing that men tend to be more badly affected than women after sustaining trauma, although it remains unclear whether the difference is caused by injury type or recovery rates.

However, the researchers observed the greatest disparity in risk of death when they analyzed the data for Indian and US women who had been assaulted—women in India who had been assaulted were nearly 40 times as likely to die of their injuries as were their US counterparts.

The researchers suggest that women in India who have been assaulted may not seek medical attention promptly, citing evidence that only one in four female victims of assault in India actively seek care after experiencing intimate partner violence. Other explanations include the less advanced state of pre-hospital care services in India compared to the US, and the fact that women from low income households may not be able to afford the treatment they need.

The researchers noted that the two sets of data were not standardized, and that some of the trauma cases might have been miscoded as falls or road traffic accidents when they were actually assault cases. These uncertainties could affect interpretations of the data.

“The higher odds of death for Indian females compared with US females suggest that there are other injury and systemic factors that contribute to this discrepancy in mortality odds,” they write.

The article can be found at: Dasari et al. (2017) Comparative Analysis of Gender Differences in Outcomes After Trauma in India and the USA: Case for Standardized Coding of Injury Mechanisms in Trauma Rgistries.


Source: The BMJ; Photo: Pixabay.
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