An East Yorkshire surgeon is urging those spending time at home due to coronavirus to take extra care to avoid accidents or injury.
Miss Elizabeth Moulder, orthopaedic surgeon with Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, says more time at home due to self isolation, distance working and school closures could see the number of injuries related to home improvement, outdoor play, or even trips and falls soar.
And while urgent health needs and emergencies will be treated promptly, efforts to bolster the trust’s coronavirus response mean some specialties, such as orthopaedic surgery, will be operating at a reduced capacity.
Miss Moulder explains:
“Many children are enjoying more time at home, but with this comes an increased risk of injury as children spend more time playing outdoors on trampolines, scooters, bikes and so on.
“The coronavirus outbreak has seen a huge reduction in the number of people attending A&E and our fracture clinic, and we are grateful for people’s cooperation in staying at home, but in one morning fracture clinic this week, half of all the fractures we treated were as a result of children playing on trampolines*.
“Roads are quieter and in recent weeks, we’ve enjoyed a bit more sunshine; these factors could tempt more people into jumping on the motorbike or driving more quickly than normal, increasing their risk of a road traffic accident or collision.
“With more people spending time at home, people could even start turning their hand to the DIY or home improvement jobs they’ve been meaning to get round to for a while. Ladders, steps, cables and power tools are all potentially dangerous at the best of times, so we would really urge people not to take unnecessary risks and to delay any jobs which could wait.
“At this time, our hospitals are rightly gearing up for the coronavirus effort. Routine surgery has already been cancelled and going forward we will not have the resources to provide our normal high level of service within orthopaedics, as specialist staff such as anaesthetists and theatre nurses will be required to help in other areas such as intensive care.
“Nationally and locally, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is on the rise. To limit the spread of the virus and reduce the risk to our patients, the public and our staff, we need to minimise the number of people in and around Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill as far as possible.
“Hospital staff are working incredibly hard in difficult circumstances, and we have already been overwhelmed by the amount of public support we’ve seen so far. By taking basic precautions while at home – by not going up ladders unnecessarily, by wearing cycle helmets or by limiting trampolines to one child at a time, for example – everyone can help reduce their own risk and reduce pressures on our health services at an extraordinary time for all of us.”
* The average number of clinic attendances averages around 30 people. Tuesday morning’s clinic (31 March) saw six patients, of whom three were patients with fractures associated with play on trampolines.