By Dr. Heather Wilson
Autumn is officially here and with its arrival come shorter, darker, and wetter days. School is back in session, and Halloween is just around the corner.
Fall means an increase in what we officially call “pedestrian strikes” in the hospital Emergency Department. When a person is hit by a car, the pedestrian never wins and there can be terrible results.
According to ICBC, the Southern Interior sees an average of 230 crashes involving pedestrians each year, with approximately 12 fatalities. Within Interior Health, the most seriously injured patients are transferred to Royal Inland Hospital or Kelowna General Hospital, where they will spend an average of almost 14 days in hospital.
The most common serious injuries in these cases involve the head, legs and torso. A brain injury may change a person’s character, a leg injury may leave them disabled, and torso injuries often involve the major organs. In any case, the role the injured person plays within their family, career and community is changed forever.
Here are some tips to stay safe during darker autumn days:
· Wear high-visibility clothing and carry a flashlight if you are walking in the evening.
· Distraction of any kind on the road can spell disaster. When you are walking, focus your full attention on the road around you. Put the phone away.
· Cross at intersections and use traffic signals and cross walks.
· Make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you.
· Use particular caution when crossing driveways and alley entrances. Drivers may not expect you to be there or see you.
We are ready to provide care for any and all traumas we see In Emergency Departments across Interior Health. However, many of the injuries we treat are preventable. For more tips visit ICBC’s pedestrian safety page at www.icbc.com.
Don’t be a statistic. Take care out there.
Dr. Heather Wilson is General Surgeon and Medical Director of Interior Health’s Trauma Services Network. This is the first in a series of quarterly columns produced on behalf of the Interior Health Trauma Services Network.