The number of knife attack victims treated at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel has doubled in five years.
The Hospital reveals how these alarming numbers of patients are treated and the effect on NHS staff dealing with the immediate and long-term repercussions of violence between young men.
The average cost of treating a penetrating injury, most of which are stabbings, is estimated at £8,000, and The Royal London treat some of the most serious cases, costing as much as £200,000.
It has a pioneering trauma unit acting as a prototype for the rest of the country. When a stab victim comes in clinical staff are immediately mobilised from A & E and around the hospital.
Consultant trauma surgeon Mike Walsh is the hospital's trauma director and has seen a steady increase in the number of patients who come in after being stabbed. 'The hardest thing, particularly if they die, is the sense of waste of life,' he says, 'the waste of potential and opportunity.'
When Mike started at The Royal London in 1997, knife crime was responsible for less than 10% of trauma patients; now it is around 25%. The NHS spends millions every year treating victims of knife crime. For very severe injuries, intensive care and long hospital stays add up to a substantial cost.
The hospital even sees patients as young as 13, such as Nigel, who has been stabbed by a group of boys in his neighbourhood and doesn't even seem surprised. Nigel says: 'We're all destined to die so if it happened it happened.'
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