Likely to be injured? Make sure you're 'drunk'
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health analysed data for 190,612 patients treated at trauma centers between 1995 and 2009 who were tested for blood alcohol content, which ranged from zero to 0.5 per cent at the time they were admitted to the trauma unit.
Of that group, 6,733 died in the hospital.
The study examined the relationship of alcohol dosage to in-hospital mortality following traumatic injuries such as fractures, internal injuries and open wounds.
Alcohol benefited patients across the range of injuries, with burns as the only exception.
The benefit extended from the lowest blood alcohol concentration (below 0.1 per cent) through the highest levels (up to 0.5 per cent).
"This study is not encouraging people to drink," cautioned UIC injury epidemiologist Lee Friedman, author of the study.
"That's because alcohol intoxication - even minor inebriation - is associated with an increased risk of being injured," he said in a statement.
"However, after an injury, if you are intoxicated there seems to be a pretty substantial protective effect. The more alcohol you have in your system, the more the protective effect," said Friedman.
"At the higher levels of blood alcohol concentration, there was a reduction of almost 50 per cent in hospital mortality rates," Friedman said.
"This protective benefit persists even after taking into account injury severity and other factors known to be
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