New Years Resolution: No ER VisitsDec 30, 2013
Get back into shape, eat healthier, be happier, quit smoking – a few of the better-health resolutions for the new year. And while those are all good resolutions, emergency room physician Dr. Troy Madsen shares with you the New Years resolutions he thinks are important if you want to stay out of the ER this upcoming year.
Host: Do you have a New Years health resolution? Dr. Madsen's going to share his resolution for you coming up next on The Scope.
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Host: Around New Years, you hear a lot of people making resolutions about, "I'm going to lose some weight. I'm going to get in better shape." Is that the resolution you should be making? Dr. Troy Madsen, Emergency Medicine at University of Utah Hospital with his resolution he hopes that all of his listeners will make.
Dr. Troy Madsen: That's right. This is my resolution for you.
Dr. Troy Madsen: I don't want to make your resolution for you, but I'm talking from an ER perspective from an ER doctor. And absolutely, when we think about New Years, sure, we think about exercise, maybe quitting smoking and different health habits like that.
Host: All good things.
Dr. Troy Madsen: All of which are wonderful things, and I would absolutely encourage that. But the big thing I'm going to encourage is to evaluate your safety habits. What do you do to stay safe? I'm talking about seat belts, helmets, driving habits, work projects around the home because these are the big things I see that can oftentimes cause very serious injuries, even death, in young, healthy people.
Host: Car accidents. Let's talk about driving habits. Speeding.
Dr. Troy Madsen: Yeah. Absolutely.
Host: Driving aggressively.
Dr. Troy Madsen: Absolutely.
Host: Anything else?
Dr. Troy Madsen: Yeah. Speeding, driving aggressively, and seat belt use. Make sure you're using a seat belt and make sure your kids are in car seats or booster seats, depending on their age.
Host: Distractions, cell phones, stereos.
Dr. Troy Madsen: Absolutely. Distractions with cell phone use, whatever it is, take an inventory and realize what a difference it can make if you're just not using a cell phone, not texting, and wearing a seat belt. You can save yourself a whole lot of pain and injury.
Host: All right. Let's talk about those home improvement projects. What are some of the dangers lurking there?
Dr. Troy Madsen: Lots of home improvement stuff.
Host: Besides not getting it done on time.
Dr. Troy Madsen: Exactly. That's part of it. A lot of people rush through projects, but the big ones we see are ladder safety and issues with power tools. A lot of people are very experienced, and they get very comfortable and may not practice appropriate ladder safety where they're kind of up on an unstable ladder and fall off. They may not have someone at home to help them out. With power tools, we see a lot of injuries to hands and fingers. Again, these are all preventable things. Take a look at what you're doing with power tools. Wear safety glasses. Make sure you're taking the right steps there.
Host: Do you find that it's the people that are experienced with them that tend to end up in the ER more than the amateur?
Dr. Troy Madsen: I do.
Host: They just get more comfortable with it.
Dr. Troy Madsen: Absolutely.
Host: Think about it.
Dr. Troy Madsen: I would say 90% of table saw injuries I see, the people are not the first time they're using it. They say, "Hey, I've been using a table saw for years. I can't believe this happened to me."
Host: Yeah. So it's a good idea to do a little mental check-in, maybe.
Dr. Troy Madsen: Yeah. Check-in.
Host: See what you're doing there.
Dr. Troy Madsen: Yeah. Reevaluate how you're approaching it.
Host: All right. What are some of the other safety habits?
Dr. Troy Madsen: Helmets. Wear a helmet such as when skiing.
Host: That's big.
Dr. Troy Madsen: It is. It is big.
Host: A lot of research says that it can make a huge difference.
Dr. Troy Madsen: It can. There's no question about it. I mean, you can't argue against it. There is so much research again and again showing not only decreased death, but decreased injury. Some people say, "A helmet's the difference between an open casket and a closed casket funeral. So why do I even care?" It's not. It's the difference between coming into the ER and getting discharged versus being in the ER potentially with very serious injuries for potentially weeks. So wear a helmet whether you're biking, skiing, motor biking, even horseback riding. Whatever it is, it makes a huge difference.
So as you're approaching New Years, you may be thinking about your resolution. This is a sample thing you can do from my perspective as an ER doctor, to improve your health, avoid an ER visit, and stay safe throughout the New Year.
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