Vol , Issue Date of Publication: May 18, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.20529/IJME.2024.030

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Maxillofacial defects following road traffic accidents should be included in the disability spectrum

Tripthi P Shetty

In India, 21.20% of annual road traffic accidents (RTA) result in maxillofacial injuries, with most victims being young adults aged 18-45 years. Such RTAs cause personal losses to individuals and families and adversely impact the country’s health system facilities. These losses result from the expenses for medical care, lost wages for individuals who are rendered unable to work, and lost productivity for family members who must miss work or school in order to care for the injured. Most nations lose 3% of their gross domestic product to road accidents. RTA injuries, often associated with severe morbidity, cause functional impairments and have immense psychological impact. Rehabilitating these patients and their future treatment needs constitute an economic burden to themselves and their families, more so in a developing country like India, where a majority of the population cannot afford the treatment costs and lack health insurance coverage.

These injuries therefore, as defined by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health 2001, fall within the ambit of impairment and disability. However, Indian law does not identify maxillofacial injuries and the ensuing trauma as disabilities. Addressing this could be an important step towards improvement in the care and compensation provided to survivors of such life changing accidents.

Copyright and license
©Indian Journal of Medical Ethics 2024: Open Access and Distributed under the Creative Commons license ( CC BY-NC-ND 4.0),
which permits only non-commercial and non-modified sharing in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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