Warning as injuries from falls surge

HOSPITAL consultants are urging pedestrians to exercise caution in the current icy conditions, amid reports of hospital Emergency Departments being inundated with fractures and other injuries.

Professor Stephen Cusack, who heads up Cork University Hospital’s Emergency Department, said, since the cold spell began, the hospital has experienced a dramatic surge in the number of pedestrians suffering dislocations, minor fractures and sprains. Dr Cusack said the public should be aware of the need to tread carefully, especially on pavements, driveways and garden paths.

“We have had the equivalent of a slow-burning major incident. We have had over 55 people admitted with orthopaedic injuries (at CUH) following slips on the ice. This is roughly the equivalent of two weeks of regular trauma work in this hospital. It is quite extraordinary and people really need to be very careful. Anybody who is in any way unsteady on their feet should just not be outside in this weather. Please, please do not go out walking,” he said.

At Dublin’s Mater Hospital, falls were much of less of an issue, with Dr Eamonn Brazil saying they had been more busy with alcohol and drug-related incidents on St Stephen’s night.

Meanwhile, as freezing weather continues, motorists are being warned to drive with extreme caution, especially on secondary and local roads. Severe ice and freezing fog have continued to make driving conditions hazardous nationwide. While nearly all main roads have been gritted, drivers are being urged to drive cautiously and to allow for 10 times the usual braking distance. Motorists are warned to anticipate crashes as road conditions remain treacherous.

Age Action Ireland has reminded people to keep an eye on elderly relations and neighbours during the cold snap.

“People should keep the temperature in the rooms they’re living in between 16 and 18 degrees... If it falls below 12 degrees, you’re in the danger zone because the blood begins to thicken and it can result in heart attack or stroke,” said spokesman Eamon Timmins.


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