“Fun in the sun” might be the way many of us characterize this time of year, but emergency medicine physicians refer to summertime as trauma season.
Swimming, biking, gardening and barbecuing are but a few of the season’s activities that increase the number of medical emergencies among adults and children alike.
“Summer is a peak time for accidents and injury,” said Michael E. Chansky, MD, Chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Cooper University Hospital.
“From lawn-mower, ladder and fireworks accidents to heat stroke, sports injuries, food poisoning and falls, the rise in injury and illness related to summer activities increases the number of people seeking emergency treatment during the summer months,” Dr. Chansky said.
While safeguards can and should be taken to prevent summertime injuries, it helps to be prepared for a trip to the hospital emergency department (ED) should an accident happen.
“None of us plans to have a medical emergency, of course, but there are steps we can take to be better prepared when a medical emergency does occur,” Dr. Chansky said.
When Seeking Emergency Treatment
In accordance with the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Emergency Department at Cooper University Hospital offers these tips to help you and your family before seeking treatment in the ED:
- Write down all the patient’s medications or put them in a re-sealable bag and bring them with you. Don’t forget to include over-the-counter pills and any herbal medications.
- If a child swallows a substance that might be dangerous, bring the original container with you. If the ED staff knows what the product is, they can call poison control and get specific treatments. Otherwise, it can be difficult to determine the source.
- If English isn’t the patient’s native language, bring an adult translator. Often, people recruit school-aged children to translate, but medical procedures can be too complicated or inappropriate for them to talk about. The ED staff can call a translation service in a pinch. But things will go much more smoothly if a bilingual adult is available.
- If an event occurred — e.g., your child suffered what seemed like a seizure or your elderly father became disoriented — bring in the person who saw exactly what happened. Because speed is of the essence, getting this firsthand information can help in making an accurate diagnosis faster.
- While in the ED, don’t be afraid to ask questions and have the doctor clarify all aspects of the patient’s condition and follow-up care. Don’t leave without written, after-care instructions. Carefully follow the after-care instructions, including any additional doctor or specialist appointments.
Emergency Care at Cooper
The Emergency Department at Cooper University Hospital provides highly skilled medical care for adults and children. As one of only three Level 1 Trauma Centers designated by the New Jersey State Department of Health, Cooper University Hospital is uniquely equipped to handle the most serious cases. Cooper’s Emergency Department provides patients with 24/7 access to specialists in cardiology, surgery, orthopaedics, otolaryngology, opthalmology, urology and pediatrics, in addition to lab services, medical imaging and cardiopulmonary services.