Look Out Below

“OMG” was my husband’s reaction when he received news that his buddy broke several bones from a fall. This idyllic setting is fraught with many hazards. His buddy, a seasoned sailor, backed up not realizing his hatch was open. He landed on his back striking his upper back. An evaluation at the ER revealed he cracked two ribs and fractured his shoulder blade.

Falls are a major cause of injuries. The sailor couldn’t believe it happened, especially since he had fallen the day before, gashed his arm and ended up in the ER for stitches. As a result of all the news about Tennessee Basketball Coach Pat Summitt, our friend was worried about his own memory lapses more than his broken bones.  He was reading more about Alzheimer’s Disease while recovering at home.

Accidents happen but situational awareness in every circumstance may help decrease your risk of falls and injuries. If you fall, go back through the sequence of events to identify ways you could prevent the fall to lessen the chance of it happening again. In this case, after two consecutive days of doing the same thing (leaving the hatch open) our friend will be taking measures to close the hatch before moving on to do something else.

-Diane L. Schneider, MD

Image: courtesy of shutterstock.com