Meir Hospital - Alon Ron
A nurse walking down the nearly empty halls of the outpatient clinic at Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava, May 3, 2011. Photo by Alon Ron
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One in three Israelis will be injured badly enough to be hospitalized throughout his or her lifetime, according to figures in a report by the Gertner Institute's National Center for Trauma and Emergency Medicine Research.

The report also says the mortality rate among trauma patients in serious and critical condition dropped by a third over the past decade, and by 50 percent since the trauma registration database was established in 1997.

"These are impressive numbers by Western standards, but if we want to retain these achievements in the long run, we have to nurture and raise a new generation of trauma experts," said Dr. Kobi Peleg, the head of the trauma center.

Trauma is currently defined as a sub-specialty open to general surgeons, but few answer the call because of the tough working conditions. Only 12 specialist traumatologists are working in Israel today.

According to the report, one in 29 Israelis will be hospitalized with serious injuries, and one in 11 will be hospitalized due to an injury sustained in a traffic accident. One in 75 Israelis will be hospitalized in serious condition after a traffic accident.

Meanwhile, a gender gap exists, and it is highest among adolescents. A teenage boy's chances of being hospitalized for trauma is four times higher than those of a teenage girl.

About one-third of trauma patients were injured at home, and a similar number were injured in the street or on the roads. Half the injuries were caused by falls, a quarter by traffic accidents, 6 percent by violence and 4 percent by burns. Traffic-accident victims make up 40 percent of the seriously and critically injured.

The number of patients hospitalized in serious or critical condition as a result of violence rose over the decade by 48 percent, reaching 1,446 patients in 2009. The report also points to a sharp rise in the number of hospitalized stabbing victims; they made up 27.9 percent of all trauma patients in 2008 and 40.2 percent in 2009.

Geographically, most victims of violence in the south were hospitalized as a result of stabbings (43.3 percent ), other brawl injuries (23.7 ), gunshot wounds (16.7 percent ) and assault with an object other than a knife or a gun (15.2 percent ).

In the center of the country, most were hospitalized with general brawl injuries (39.5 percent ), then stab wounds (32 percent ), assault with an object (14.7 percent ) and gunshot wounds (9.8 percent ).

In the north, 32.3 percent were hospitalized for stab wounds, 28.7 percent for general brawl injuries, 20.6 percent after assault with an object and 11.8 percent for gunshot wounds.

Nationally, the number of traffic-accident victims rose 25 percent in the past decade, reaching 6,010 by 2009. The sharpest rise was among motorcyclists, who made up 10.4 percent of traffic-accident victims in 2000 and 13.8 percent in 2009. Cyclists made up 11 percent of accident victims in 2000 and 15.9 percent in 2009.