Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BR...I cut myself!

I recently read an interesting blurb in Modern Healthcare referencing a study conducted by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). According to statistics, bagel-related injuries (BRIs) were responsible for 1,979 Emergency Department visits in 2008. After putting aside my surprise that such a surveillance system even exists, I thought about our own Emergency Department and our "big ticket items," especially at this time of year.

We see about 3,500 patients per month in our Emergency Department. A good number of these patients come to us for serious, life-threatening issues such as cardiac and neurovascular symptoms. Approximately 20 visits per month are for chest pain/cardiac symptoms and about 40 are for stroke symptoms. However, during the cold winter months, we do see an increase in falls on the ice, cold/flu and even, around the holidays, pumpkin injuries and chicken and turkey-related incidents (choking, lacerations from slicing).

This bears out the NEISS's statistic naming chicken as the Food Most Likely to Send You to the Emergency Room (3,463 ED visits in 2008). Bagels came in second and pumpkins third.

We are not likely to start collecting data around which foods are responsible for the most ER visits at St. Joseph, but for your own safety, I consulted bagel experts Steve and Nancy Kashman, owners of Kashman's Place in Scottsdale, Arizona. According to Nancy (AKA "Mom") the safest way to cut bagels is to put your hand on top of the knife, keep your fingers open and slice away from yourself. Since I don't have a video of the actual process of cutting a bagel, please follow these instructions at your own risk.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday and watch out for those BRIs.

No comments:

Post a Comment