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Casualty swamped with broken bones

PUBLISHED: 09:06 24 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:39 07 September 2010

DROPPING temperatures, icy pavements and treacherous roads have caused a massive influx of patients with fractured and broken bones to the Whittington Hospital. Since snow started falling last week the under-threat emergency department at the Archway hosp

DROPPING temperatures, icy pavements and treacherous roads have caused a massive influx of patients with fractured and broken bones to the Whittington Hospital.

Since snow started falling last week the under-threat emergency department at the Archway hospital has seen well over 100 patients with an alarming number of fractures.

They had slipped on ungritted roads and pavements and many sustained serious injuries which will blight their festive holidays and take weeks to recover from.

During the whole of November an average of 85 people attended the hospital with a fracture per week whereas during just the past week of December a record 113 have been treated.

The London Ambulance Service has also experienced an exceptional amount of calls during the bad weather, with Monday being as busy for paramedics as a typical New Year's Eve.

The service took almost 6,000 calls on Monday and attended 2,978 incidents - compared to a normal day of around 4,000 calls.

Over the weekend, ambulance staff responded to 6,436 emergency incidents across the capital, an increase of nearly 12 per cent on the average for the previous four weekends.

It was the second busiest weekend in the service's history, only narrowly quieter than the New Year's Eve weekend in 2000.

The cold and icy conditions have seen an increase in people dialling 999 following trips, slips or falls on slippery pavements, while many existing conditions are being made worse, such as asthma.

Deputy director of operations Jason Killens said: "We're asking people to think carefully before dialling 999.

"Four hundred calls an hour is something we'd only expect on the busiest days of the year, like New Year's Eve.

"We'd urge people to use their ambulance service very wisely so we can get to the most serious or life-threatening patients as quickly as possible.

"Some roads and pavements are icy and very slippery, so people should be particularly careful when they're out and about. Dress appropriately, wrap up warm and remember that the 999 system is there for emergencies.

A spokesman for the hospital said: "The Whittington hospital has seen an increase in the number of fall related accidents and admissions to our emergency department.

"During this snowy period we ask people to dress appropriately when making journeys on foot and to especially consider their footwear."

Age Concern Camden is also warning the borough's elderly people to be especially careful in the snow and ice.

Chief executive Gary Jones said: "Older people can be more prone to falls, particularly during the current severe weather.

"We would urge them to take extra care - the ground can be very slippy, so wear shoes with a good grip, and use sticks or frames where necessary.

"Sprinkle the area outside your home with gravel or grit, and consider finding out about getting a grab rail fitted.


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