UK HealthCare

Local Emergency Departments Prepare for Influx of Trauma Patients

UK HealthCare Albert B. Chandler Hospital

The University of Kentucky Public Relations and Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week's column is by Dr. Andrew Bernard, UK HealthCare Trauma medical director, and Dr. Gena Cooper, UK HealthCare Pediatric Emergency Medicine medical director.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 7, 2021) Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer.

Across the Commonwealth, people are getting ready to make the most of warm weather and time off from work and school. Since we anticipate a more “normal” summer following COVID-19 restrictions, staff at your local emergency department are preparing for the start of trauma season.

Historically, trauma season spans about six months. It is when emergency departments see an influx of patients. Since 2017, falls and car crashes account for more than 60% of patient volume in the emergency departments of the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler and Good Samaritan hospitals. High speeds, jumps and an absence of helmets contribute most often to the severity of injuries from bikes, motorcycles and ATVs. Slipping in and around pools, falls from skateboards, bikes or playgrounds can also be avoided with property safety gear and supervision. 

Tempers tend to flare when it's hot outside. Gunshot wounds are the next most common injury treated in emergency departments. While most gunshot wounds are intentional, incidents involving BB, pellet and paintball guns are very common. Health care providers also see a spike in the number of children who are injured or killed by handguns and shotguns during the summer when there is less parental supervision.

Lakes and rivers across Kentucky may see more visitors this summer. While children are more likely to drown in pools, adults and teens are more likely to drown in natural bodies of water. Boating, tubing and water-skiing are all risky activities that should be enjoyed while wearing a life vest.

Accidents with fireworks, grills and trampolines are just a few other examples of ways you can land in the emergency department. Alcohol consumption is a major contributing factor in preventable injuries. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. When the spirits flow at cookouts — whether they're at home, at the lake or any other location — the likelihood of injury increases 450%.

UK HealthCare emergency and trauma doctors want you to remember that hospitals are safe, even as some precautions will likely continue for COVID-19. The likelihood of contracting the coronavirus in these facilities is low. If you or someone you love is seriously injured, it is very important to seek emergency medical care immediately.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.