Injury

Car Seats Done Right (Article)

Cars can be dangerous for children, especially considering the vast amount of time they spend in and around them. This fact is borne out by statistics, year in and year out. In 2011 for instance, 148,000 children were injured in automobile accidents. A third of these children were not restrained by a car seat or seatbelt at the time of their injury. Amazing. Intoxicated drivers, poorly installed car seats, and simple carelessness make injuries and death of children in cars mostly preventable. Continue reading

The Truly Amazing Story of Ian (Article)

 

 

With the permission of him and his family, I am going to tell you what happened to a patient of mine named Ian. Three years ago on a hot summer day, Ian went to the pool with his brother to go swimming.  They played games, competing and challenging each other physically like brothers do.  During a game of “How far can you go underwater?,” Ian’s brother noticed that Ian stayed underwater too long . Tragically, an 18-year-old lifeguard and an adult neighbor dragged Ian out of the water blue, lifeless and almost dead.  Ian’s life was now in the hands of  others, his  neighbor and a teenage lifeguard.  How quickly life can change!

Unfortunately, all of the pool water that Ian inhaled severely damaged his lungs; doctors just didn’t know whether the damage extended to his brain.  He spent weeks in the pediatric ICU with all the advanced respiratory support the doctors could muster. The most extreme measures were used to keep Ian going.  Things didn’t look good; the medical staff told Ian’s parents that he had just a fifty percent chance of surviving.  While the family prepared for the worst, however, Ian fought back.

A month after entering the hospital, a frail and exhausted Ian went home with fairly good lungs and, fortunately, a great brain and spirit.  His recovery was truly miraculous, a testament to his wonderful medical care, his religious faith, and his remarkably strong strength of character.

Knowing Ian’s story, I was thrilled when his mother called me recently to tell me that Ian has a summer job.  Not only has he managed to make a complete medical recovery against very steep odds, strengthen his bonds with his family, return to school and earn good grades, but now he has a summer job as, of all things, a LIFEGUARD!  Talk about giving back, this guy is AMAZING!  When I spoke to him recently, he told me that he hasn’t saved anyone yet, but he is ready to return the life saving favor to anyone who needs him. I know he will.

 

If you have comments, log onto my pediatric blog at www.docsmo.com.  Take a few minutes to explore the literally hundreds of articles and posts on the site.  Until next time.

 

Written by Paul Smolen MD

 

 

 

 

 

From the desk of Doc Smo: More on Injury Prevention (article)

Many of you are probably aware that I attended and graduated from Rutgers Medical School. When I was there, Rutgers was a very young start-up medical school attached to a prestigious old university named Rutgers. Since my graduation, the school received a major endowment from the Robert Wood Johnson foundation (RWJF) of Johnson and Johnson fame. Since then, they have changed the name from Rutgers to—you guessed it—the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine. In addition to funding my alma mater, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supports a lot of health policy research. My interest in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation brings us to today’s memo.

 

I recently read about a new policy study that was supported by the RWJF, which took a close look at various state laws with respect to child and adult safety.  The report is called: “The Facts Hurt: A State-by-State Injury Prevention Policy Report.” After grading each state on the strength of their laws, the researchers overlaid this data on the actual accident rates each state has suffered in the recent past. Did they find that states with strong safety laws had lower accidental injury rates…? You bet they did. While the correlation is not perfect, I think you will see if you look at their data that states with strong safety laws tend to have less accidental injury. The strictest laws are found in California and New York, and they have the lowest rates of accidents. The weakest laws are found in Montana, Ohio, Idaho, Kentucky, North and South Dakota, and South Carolina. All these states scored in either the worst or next to worst accident rates.

 

The point is that accident prevention, either by parents or by state legislatures, does make a difference in protecting both children and adults from accidental injury. Enforcing seatbelt, helmet, drunk driving, sports safety, and dating violence laws do have a positive impact on our health. Yes, these laws do encroach on some personal freedoms, but in my opinion this is a small price to pay when we are talking about protecting our children, neighbors, and fellow citizens from serious harm.  Take a little time to copy and past the link below and browse the report.   I think you will be glad you did.

 

http://www.rwjf.org/files/research/74400.5885.thefactshurt.20120521.pdf

Baby Walkers…beware! (Pedcast)

Baby walkers are fun for infants and can be useful for parents.  They just aren’t safe!  Dr Smolen lays out the facts about these devices and encourages parents to stay away.  This is a must listen to podcast for anyone considering using an infant walker.

Continue reading