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Traumatic Injury Is A Preventable Problem

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

According to the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, injury is the leading cause of death for those one to 44 years old and the leading cause of disability in the first four decades of life. However, traumatic injury is one of the most preventable public health problems in America.

May is national trauma awareness month and was created to increase awareness of trauma and injury prevention. “Traumatic injury is a public health problem that is preventable diagnosable, treatable, survivable and controllable,” said Kindra Paxton, RN, BSN, injury prevention and trauma education coordinator for Summa Akron City Hospital. “Injury prevention is the most commonsense approach to reduce death and disability.”

One of the most common causes of injury is on the road. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2007, there were an estimated 6,024,000 police-reported traffic crashes, in which 41,059 people were killed and 2,491,000 people were injured.

Paxton suggests the following safety tips while on the road:

* Avoid excessive speed – speed was a contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes and 13,040 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes

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* Don’t drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs – 32 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States were alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities

* Both drivers and occupants should always use a seatbelt – when used, lap/shoulder seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent

* Use proper child safety restraints – among passenger vehicle occupants over age 4, seat belts saved an estimated 15,147 lives; if all passenger vehicle occupants over age 4 had worn seat belts, an additional 5,024 lives could have been saved

* Avoid distractions while driving, including cell phone use

* Always wear a helmet when on a motorcycle

A Level 1 Trauma Center, Summa Akron City Hospital saw more than 1200 trauma patients in 2008. Patient care starts from the scene of the injury to the hospital stay to discharge and includes first responders, physicians, nurses and other health personnel. Summa Akron City provides the expertise, resources and equipment for treating the most severely injured patients and acts as a resource for other facilities. In addition to in-house trauma surgeons, emergency medicine physicians, anesthesiologists, promptly available specialists in a wide range of disciplines, highly trained nursing staff, Akron City also conducts trauma research and is actively involved in several research studies and clinical trials.