Emergency rooms see high number of patients with winter storm injuries

Emergency rooms filling up with people injured from icy conditions
Updated: Jan. 5, 2018 at 5:37 PM EST
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Ambulances come and go at MUSC Friday (Source: Live 5)
Ambulances come and go at MUSC Friday (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Emergency rooms at Lowcountry hospitals are seeing plenty of action due to the winter storm and the post-storm effects over the last few days.

From Wednesday through Friday morning Trident Medical Center reported treating 40 patients in the ER for fall-related accidents, according to spokesman Rod Whiting.

The hospital also saw more 11 trauma cases related with the storm.

Staff at the Medical University of South Carolina are also dealing with heavy numbers in the emergency rooms.

"A lot of people falling on their outstretched hand causing a lot of breaks to the forearm and things of that nature," said Dr. Andrew Matuskowitz, with MUSC.

Over the last 48 hours the emergency rooms have seen 40+ patients with injuries from falls and car crashes, spokeswoman Heather Woolwine said.

Doctors urge you to stay off the roads if possible, and dress as warm as you can.

"Be mindful of your surroundings," Matuskowitz said. "Wear proper boots and make sure you wear gloves as well. Anything to make sure your extremities are staying warm… Certainly anytime people get lulled into a sense of confidence about the roadways is when accidents start happening."

Health care providers urge families to reconsider snow activities such as pulling children on sleds behind moving vehicles following a number of injuries.

Several children under the age of 16 were treated at MUSC over the last few days after being pulled in the snow behind vehicles.

"Understandably, children and their families want a chance to enjoy playing in the snow, and there are a number of ways to do so safely," said Kathy Lehman-Huskamp, M.D., pediatric emergency room physician and MUSC Health's emergency management director. "We want everyone to have a good time and enjoy this historic event, but pulling children behind ATVs, golf carts, motorbikes, and other vehicles can quickly turn a fun day into a tragic one."

"Anytime you have ice or slick snow like it is right now, you could come to a quick stop and the kid could get trapped under your car or could slide off onto the side and hit the curb," Matuskowitz said.

Woolwine said some of the injuries they've seen from this snow activity range from minor injuries, to critical.

At Roper St. Francis's five locations (Downtown Charleston, West Ashley, Mt. Pleasant, North Charleston, and Moncks Corner) doctors treated 144 patients injured from falls and 36 patients involved in motor-vehicle accidents.

Walk-in clinics, some which were closed Wednesday and Thursday, saw packed waiting rooms once they reopened Friday.

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