Reality of Christmas in Emergency
Trauma specialists from The Alfred have spoken out about the reality of Christmas in the Emergency and Trauma Centre in an attempt to curb the ever-increasing number of people seriously injured over the festive season.
Trauma presentations at The Alfred have increased by nearly 17 per cent for the Christmas and New Year period since 2016.
With hundreds of people rushed to The Alfred every day, staff have opened up about the devastating impact trauma injuries can have on patients and their families, as they urge people to consider the risks before they act, to look after each other and be kind.
“ED over Christmas and New Year can get very busy with life-threatening traumas. It’s meant to be a time you can spend with friends and family, to celebrate,” said critical care nurse Nathan Durbridge.
“To have that interrupted with a life-changing event, a phone call saying things are not going to be the same anymore, is quite devastating.”
Between 23 December 2018 and 02 January 2019 The Alfred Emergency Department saw more than 2000 people. Of those patients, 619 were admitted through the trauma service with significant injuries – up from 556 the year before.
“We do tend to push the limits at this time of year, with one extra drink, or we might drive a bit further, we might do an activity that looks like a lot of fun, but that we aren’t used to doing,” said trauma surgeon Dr Ee-Jun Ban.
“No one plans to end up here, in the trauma bays. You think it's not going to happen to you. But, day in and day out, we see it happen to everyday people.”
The top causes of trauma injury include motor vehicle accidents and falling from heights less than a meter, followed by falls from a height greater than one metre, motorbike accidents and cycling accidents.
“My wish this Christmas is for everyone to spend time with their family and friends, and not end up in our emergency department,” said critical care nurse Kathrin Lawson.