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Trauma Report Shows Increase In Falls, Bicycle Injuries

Eileen Pace

  University Health System has released its second annual Community Trauma Report, which details increases and decreases in certain types of injuries coming into the emergency room at University Hospital.

Doctors said at a press conference Thursday they were most concerned by the increased number of falls, cycling injuries, and burns.

The greatest number of injuries  in the last year were from falls – almost 400 among older adults, and 33 were fatal.

UT Health Science Center Chairman of Surgery Dr. Ronald Stewart says the report reflects the trends in a number of specific areas.

"We saw increases to bicyclists. We've seen an increased number of burns to children. And we have seen increased numbers of patients from the counties where the Eagle Ford Shale is most developed," Stewart said. 

Those Eagleford Shale injuries were almost exclusively from traffic collisions, often attributed to texting while driving.

Two-thirds of kids brought in for serious burns were pre-schoolers. University Hospital Pediatric Trauma and Burn Director Dr. Lillian Liao says children are often scalded by a cup of Ramen that’s been heated in the microwave.

"A lot of the time, they're too hot for the child. Or they can spill onto their body parts, and something that wouldn't burn an adult will burn a child," she said. 

The statistics for serious bike injuries were up more than 400 percent over the last five years. Liao says most of those injuries, especially for kids, were preventable.

"What we do see is that more boys are injured than girls. But what we also see is that more of the injuries occur around the neighborhoods. So just because your child is riding the bicycle up and down the street, it doesn't mean that they shouldn't go with a helmet," she said. 
The trauma research was compiled as an effort to reduce injuries and the costs associated with them. It offers the data, along with specific recommendations to reduce injuries in each area.


Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.