Healthcare professionals share advice for holiday safety

Local healthcare professionals share their stories of patients coming in due to holiday-related accidents. Many exchange common reasons why accidents occurr around the holidays.


Candace Gayle

Ouch…Demonstrating what could happen if one is not being safe during the holiday season registered nurse Mishael Gayle leans on crutches. It is important to remember that safety is important even during the holidays.

In order to spread awareness about how people can stay safe this upcoming holiday season, local healthcare professionals share their do’s and don’ts in regard to holiday safety.
Many healthcare professionals have seen it all when it comes to accidents and injuries.
Registered nurse Patty Kerrigan has witnessed her fair share of holiday accidents.
“I had an elderly lady fall off a stool unplugging an iron in the basement. She was ironing her clothes for Christmas Mass at church,” Kerrigan said. “She broke her right shoulder and right hip, and she ended up spending Christmas in the hospital and part of the New Year in an acute care rehab facility.”
Registered nurse Jennifer Cook said she’s seen many accidents related to snow and ice. “I can’t tell you how crowded the ER gets with slips and falls on ice,” Cook said. “They can be nasty falls.”
Doctor of osteopathic medicine Noah Bass said to be especially mindful of elderly and older relatives around the holidays.
Bass said that walking with an older person “arm in arm” is one way to prevent slips and falls during the holidays.
According to Cook, many people are not as cautious around snowblowers as they should be. “People have tried to unclog snowblowers with their hands while it is still on,” Cook said. “Then they come in holding their fingers in a bag or with partial amputations.”
Senior Luke Kolumber knows a thing or two about snow-related accidents.
In eighth grade, while snowboarding at Camelback Mountain, Kolumber slipped off of a rail and fell directly on his shoulder, dislocating it and breaking the surrounding bones.
Snowboarding by oneself is something Kolumber advises against. “I would always make sure that you’re snowboarding with someone if you’re doing something a little more dangerous,” Kolumber said.
Healthcare professionals have also dealt with patients who have come in for reasons related to holiday dinners.
Registered nurse Bridget Vincent said many patients come in with chest pains due to eating “salty and greasy foods.”
According to Kerrigan, one of her patients came in because he had a “large clump” of stuffing stuck in his throat from Thanksgiving dinner. “He had to have a procedure to remove the food,” Kerrigan said.
Many accidents also occur when cooking the turkey for holiday dinners.
“For Thanksgiving, we’ve had people come in with burn injuries from putting a turkey in a fryer,” Cook said.
For those of a legal age, another way to prevent injuries and incidents during the holiday season is to limit alcohol intake.
“Minimize your intake because most accidents occur due to alcohol,” Cook said.
Kerrigan said that just taking the “time to rest” during the holiday season can prevent injuries and accidents. “People should also be mindful of overextending themselves during the holidays; the extra stress can lead to illness and injury,” Kerrigan said. “We need to take time to rest during this busy season and care for our bodies by getting enough rest, eating well, and being able to say ‘no’ sometimes.”