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Alcohol fueling increased trauma numbers this summer

Alcohol fueling increased trauma numbers this summer

Star Valley Medical Center is asking area residents to step back and evaluate their summer fun activities. Elevated numbers of critical trauma cases at the medical center have proven the importance of safety equipment, abiding by traffic laws and choosing to use alcohol responsibly, said Joel Johnson, director of public affairs at SVMC.

“At the medical center we tend to group May through August as the summer months,” said Johnson. “In 2014 between May and August we had nine cases of critical trauma. That was the critical trauma rate for the entire summer. In 2015 between May and the second week of June we have already had nine critical traumas.”

According to Johnson, the primary causes of the trauma cases in Star Valley in 2015 have been ATV accidents, horse accidents and car accidents. “Seven out of nine of these cases have been alcohol related,” John said. “People are not wearing their safety equipment such as helmets on ATVs or seat belts while they are driving. In some of the cases people are not using the vehicle they are operating in the way it was designed to be used. We accept that accidents happen. We know they happen. But the majority of these traumas, if not all of them, could have been avoided.”

According to Derek Greenwald, Director of Nursing in the Med/Surg and Emergency Departments at Star Valley Medical Center, people need to realized that “they are a danger to themselves and others.” Greenwald suggested four points to consider before participating in outdoor summer activities.

• Use common sense. Rules and regulations exist for a reason.

• Use the recommended/required safety equipment properly for the vehicle you are using.

• Don’t use alcohol.

• Have community members watch out for each other and help each other.

“If you see someone that is being unsafe or getting into an unsafe situation, help them understand that they could end up hurting themselves or those around them,” he said. “We all need to look out for each other.” According to Johnson, the medical center “wants people to be careful and have fun” this summer. “Use common sense and respect the equipment you are using and those people who are with you,” Johnson said. “Be safe and enjoy the summer.”


Alcohol fueling increased trauma numbers this summer

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