BOSTON, MA – In an aging population that is becoming increasingly complex, it is not uncommon for inpatient primary teams taking care of patients to reach out to subspecialists for help. This is what third-year medicine resident Eric Sanchez tried to do, reaching out to Cardiology for assistance on patient with new onset heart failure. Unfortunately, Cardiology was a bit further away than he thought, and he fell out of his chair onto the ground.
“I tried to reach out to them, I really did,” Sanchez explained, picking himself off of the ground and rubbing the back of his head and neck. “I reached out to them, leaning backwards in my chair, I could’ve sworn Cards was within arm’s length, but I miscalculated the distance and fell out of my chair. Wow, that smarts!”
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health care professionals reach out anywhere from 50 to 100 times in a single workday. That being said, 1 out of every 4 attempts of reaching out ends in traumatic injury.
“The pattern of injury is always consistent,” said Dr. Meghan Riley, a trauma surgeon at Boston Medical Center (BMC). “First, the health care professional reaches out. Then, he or she realizes the person is much further away than anticipated, he or she loses balance and falls. In the case of Sanchez, he fell out of his chair and hurt his head.” In the event of head injury, Riley almost always recommends neuroimaging. “It’s not uncommon for an innocent attempt to reach out to end in an intracranial bleed.”
Thankfully, Sanchez’s CT of the head was negative for bleed.
“If I can give some advice to our health care professionals out there,” Riley told Gomerblog, “consider not reaching out any more. It’s too dangerous. Instead, page or call whoever you need. It’ll save you from hurting yourself.”