Trauma centers in the United States are seeing a rising trend in the number of trauma-related fatalities caused by falls. According to a report in Anesthesiology News, a recent study shows that if current trends continue, falls would soon account for more deaths than either car accidents or firearms. Researchers say this trend presents an interesting public health challenge – preventing falls in the elderly. The study was presented during the annual meeting of The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.
Steep Increase in Fall-Related Deaths
The study showed that since 2002, deaths due to car accidents have declined by 27 percent. This improvement has been attributed to advancements in vehicle safety, public awareness and medical care. However, this reduction in fatalities has been offset by a significant increase in deaths relating to falls, the rate of which increased by 46 percent over an eight-year period.
The total number of deaths caused by traumatic incidents decreased by 6 percent between the years 2002 and 2010. Although the study was not designed to examine variables such as age or patient frailty, the results strongly suggest that the patients who arrive in trauma centers these days are older and sicker than a decade ago.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that death rates from falls among older men and women have risen sharply over the past decade. In 2010 alone, about 21,700 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries. According to CDC statistics, in 2010, the fall death rate for men was 40 percent higher than for women.
Preventing Falls Among the Elderly
There are several steps the elderly can take to prevent catastrophic falls:
• Exercise regularly. Focus on improving your leg strength and balance. Programs such as Tai Chi can help.
• Review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Identify medicines that could cause side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness.
• Get an eye exam at least once a year. Make sure you get updated eyeglasses to maximize your vision.
• Make your home safer by reducing tripping hazards. Add grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower. Add railings on both sides of stairways and improve lighting in and around your home.
If You Have Been Injured
Plaintiffs in slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall cases also need to establish their damages, which refer to the amount of money necessary to compensate them for their injuries and losses. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, cost of hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries because of a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident, the experienced New York personal injury lawyers with the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Our law firm recovered $1,700,000 for a woman who slipped and fell and received no hospital or medical treatment for one month after the accident.
Please call our offices TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496) to discuss your slip-and-fall case or trip-and-fall injury or accident case. WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
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