Summer is “Trauma Season”

While other departments are winding down and clinicians are looking forward to kicking off their summer vacations, the Montreal General Hospital Trauma Centre, known as the Dr. David S. Mulder Trauma Centre, ramps up its services to meet the demands of “trauma season.” The season begins the long weekend in May and continues through the Labour Day weekend in September.

During this peak period, the Emergency Department treats over 6,500 patients with minor to severe injuries, and the Trauma Centre admits approximately 650 patients, who present with severe and life-threatening injuries. As people become more active with summertime leisure activities, there is a sharp increase in the number of traumatic injuries caused by, for example, car crashes, violence, construction site accidents, sports or even mundane yard work.

Here are some of the cases the Trauma team might treat on a given day at the Dr. David S. Mulder Trauma Centre:

Case 1- Motorcycle crash

A 45-year-old male is riding down the highway. The car in front stops abruptly. The motorcycle crashes into the car flipping the man over and onto the highway, where he is hit by an oncoming car. He is treated for massive traumatic brain injury, abdominal injuries, liver and spleen lacerations, a pelvic fracture and spine fractures.

Case 2- Falling off scaffolding

A 29-year-old male working on a construction site removes his safety belt for a minute to pick up a dropped tool and falls three stories. On arrival at the trauma bay, he is diagnosed with spine fractures, chest injuries and leg fractures.

Case 3- Gang violence

Two males, 19 and 21 years old, in a rival gang: one is stabbed multiple times in the abdomen and thorax and has neck injuries, a lacerated liver, a punctured diaphragm and lung, as well as large vessels in his neck that are lacerated and haemorrhaging. The 21-year-old is shot in the abdomen and has a shattered spleen and a lacerated pancreas.

Case 4- Diving off cliff for swimming

A 23-year-old female jumps off a high cliff into the water, not seeing the shallow rocks beneath. She lands partially on the rocks, which causes rectal injuries, a pelvic fracture and spine fractures.

Case 5- Cleaning gutter on ladder, touches live wire and falls off ladder

A 55-year-old male is electrocuted and then falls off his ladder, which causes traumatic brain injury and clavicle and rib fractures.

In many cases, these incidents could be avoided by using safer behaviour. “With the right knowledge and some common sense, you can take control of your own safety and reduce your chances of ending up in an emergency department or being admitted to a trauma unit,” says Nancy Tze from the MGH Injury Prevention Program.

This summer: have fun, enjoy your vacation, and be SAFE!

To learn more about trauma medicine and surgery at the MGH, click here. 

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