Emergency medical services brace for trauma season

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- Summer is trauma season and the busiest time of year for emergency medical services and hospital trauma units.

In 2020, Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc. responded to 197 calls in a 24 hour period on the 4th of July holiday.

Going into this year’s busy season, emergency medical professionals are urging people to use not only common sense but also extreme caution.

Increased travel, motor vehicle accidents, kids out of school, drownings, ATV accidents, fireworks, alcohol-related altercations, summer is trauma season.

“Everything is just increased in the summertime, so we generally get a lot more trauma in the summer,” said Dr. Robert Platt.

Emergency medical professionals expect this summer to be even busier coming out the pandemic.

“If you take all that and put it into perspective that we have all been cooped up for about 14 to 15 months we are all kind of flyin’ by the seat of our britches and having a little bit more fun,” says Don Webster with HEMSI.

Dr. Robert Platt is a trauma doctor at Huntsville Hospital. He says alcohol contributes to a number of trauma cases.

“Alcohol plays a big part in a lot of what we see in trauma and people have to watch what they drink as they have a tendency to do silly things when they get alcohol on board,” said Platt.

Dr. Platt said there are staffing shortages in the medical field nationwide right now and Huntsville Hospital is no exception.

“Not physicians, we have enough physicians but in nursing we are having a shortage throughout the hospital, in the E.R. which means we have to sometimes close down beds so it takes longer to see people. That’s a real problem,” said Platt.

HEMSI is also experiencing the shortage, but says they are making sure medics are ready to respond.

“We want to take care of them and do the best we can to make sure they are safe and in a good mind and good spirit to go out and take care of the public,” said Webster.

But Webster says people can help them by using caution this summer.

“Anything can happen when you least expect it to, so the bottom line is, take care of your neighbors, take care of your children and family members and just think things through and try not to be quite so spontaneous,” said Webster.

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