Hospitals Plead With Young Aussie Men To Make Smart Choices Over Christmas
As many as 1500 young Aussie men are expected to seek emergency treatment at just one Queensland hospital over the festive season.
Half of those are expected to have sustained an alcohol-related injury.
These dire statistics have prompted a warning from Queensland doctors and nurses at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. They are pleading with young Aussies to make smarter choices over Christmas.
Launching their 'Don't Meet Us By Accident' campaign on Friday, doctors said while the festive season often brings an increase in road trauma, young men are more likely to end up injured after binge drinking with friends.
"It can start with some guy saying to his mates, 'hold my beer', yet sadly it end up here," Dr David Rosengren said.
Every year, emergency doctors see injuries ranging from people who jump from roofs into pools, to falling into campfires, or becoming injured from high speed crashes on cars, bikes and jet skis.
"We’ve removed limbs from people who’ve had motorboats reverse over them," Rosengren said.
"We’ve seen head injuries and extraordinary fractures in people thrown from moving vehicles.
"You name it, we've seen it."
Last year's festive months saw nearly 20,000 young men aged 18-25 present themselves to emergency rooms across the state with a range of injuries, most of which were from alcohol intoxication, chest pain or gastro.
'We will see young people die in our emergency rooms from unnecessary trauma," Rosengren said.
Most Common Reasons For Emergency Room Visits Dec 2017- Jan 2018
- Alcohol intoxication
- Chest pain
- Road trauma - car accidents
- Mental health issues
- Lower abdominal pain
- Minor head injury
- Sprains and broken bones; falling off ladders, skateboards, bikes and scooters, slips around swimming pools
- Heat stroke/exhaustion and extreme sun burn
- Substance use
RBWH nurse Matilda Schmidt said it was devastating to sit with the parents over the festive season and tell them their child was seriously injured or had been killed.
"When it's completely preventable, it's even more devastating to us," Schmidt told reporters.
Rosengren said the increased incidents around the festive season stem from a combination of people taking more risks and often higher alcohol or drug use.
"People undertake activities they wouldn't do in their normal everyday lives," he added.
The state's Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles joined the call at the campaign launch saying the takeaway message was for people to take care of themselves and those around them.
'All it takes is one stupid decision to change your life, or your mate's life, forever," Miles said.
Queensland Ambulance Service have also urged drivers to stay safe behind the wheel over the Christmas and school holiday period.
“Nobody expects the car trip to be the most memorable event of their holidays," Metro North manager Michelle Baxter said.
"However the sad reality is this time of year is prevalent for crashes resulting in serious injury or death."
Miles also warned of the dangers of "clogging up" emergency rooms with non-emergencies. He urged Queenslanders to seek help elsewhere for minor ailments.
The festive season also sees an increase in mental health related issues. Last year's statistics show it was the fifth most common reason young men presented themselves to emergency rooms.
READ MORE: Ways To Deal With Your Christmas Anxiety
"The festive season can also be a lonely time for people experiencing severe stress, anxiety or mental illness and may trigger depression and increase the risk of self-harm," Miles said.
The Queensland Health campaign comes alongside a similar warning from health authorities in NSW.
Number crunching from Royal Life Saving Australia recently found of the 1,087 people who drowned in rivers, streams and creeks over the past 15 years –- 80 percent were men.
Of that number more than half had been drinking.
New Years day is expected to be the busiest day for emergency department workers, with 267 new patients at RBWH last year.
A further 209 presented themselves on New Years Eve, 223 on Boxing Day and 176 on Christmas Day.
"Enjoy your festive period with your family, not our family," Rosengren said.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
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