Across the U.S. ladder falls result in more than 164,000 emergency room visits each year, with 300 deaths
VANCOUVER — As families prepare to decorate their homes for the Christmas season, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center’s trauma team offers a warning about the potential dangers of climbing a ladder.
“We see an increase in ladder injuries and falls from height as the holidays approach,” said Karly Schriever, RN, Trauma Program Manager at PeaceHealth Southwest. “People are getting up on their ladders and roofs to put up Christmas lights and clean their roofs and gutters, with a resulting increase in falls. We’ve already treated more than 300 patients this year for concussions, back injuries, and injuries to their extremities suffered in falls, most less than 20 feet.”
PeaceHealth Southwest Trauma Medical Director Tracy Timmons, MD says most people are unaware of how dangerous ladders can be. “Most ladder-related deaths are from falls 10 feet or less,” said Timmons. “The older we get, the more significant the injuries become, and the longer it takes to recover.”
Across the U.S. ladder falls result in more than 164,000 emergency room visits each year, with 300 deaths. PeaceHealth Southwest’s trauma team offers five important ladder safety tips to make sure you celebrate the holiday safely at home with your family rather than with their trauma team:
• 1) Don’t drink and decorate. Alcohol impairs your balance and coordination and greatly increases risk of a fall.
• 2) Don’t decorate alone. If something goes wrong it’s important to have someone there to help you.
• 3) Inspect your ladder before you use it to make sure it is in good repair, and don’t exceed recommended ladder weight limits.
• 4) Set the ladder up properly and have a person on hand to steady the ladder for you.
• 5) Don’t allow children to climb ladders, no matter how much they beg!
About PeaceHealth Southwest’s trauma program:
PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center’s trauma provides 24/7 expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and support of critically ill and injured patients. The multi-disciplinary team includes:
- Trauma surgeons with expertise in surgical critical care, neuro-critical care, and acute surgical illness.
- Orthopedic surgeons with special expertise in complex orthopedic injuries including complex pelvic fractures.
- Neuro-surgeons trained in all aspects of managing traumatic brain and spine injuries.
- Trauma radiology with highly advanced interventional capabilities for the management of highly complex traumatic injuries and their complications.
- Emergency Medicine Specialists with expertise in the stabilization of acute, life-threatening illness.
For more information visit www.peacehealth.org/phmg/vancouver/trauma-surgery