stovetop or boiling pots of water. While most people would think the
kitchen poses the greatest hazard, it's the bathroom that is sending
more people to the hospital. It's the place where we rush and spend the
most time, with morning routines and taking care of business throughout
"Unfortunately between work and school, I don't have a
whole lot of free time," says bathroom injury victim Abby Merry. "So
everything is go, go, go, go, go."
It's part of why some believe the bathroom is the most dangerous room in the home.
"When I fall, I can't get up," says bathroom injury victim Rhonda Clark.
Clark has been wheelchair bound since birht, and has wound up at the hospital twice after hurting herself in the bathroom.
"The last time I fell, I knew I was going and there was nothing I could do," says Clark.
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Clark is among over
250,000 Americans who are taken to the ER due to bathroom-related
injuries each year. 14% of those accident victims are hospitalized.
lot of hip fractures, knee issues, ankle fractures," says SMC
Occupational Therapist Jana White. "Sometimes they end up dislocating
their shoulder because they get wedged once they get stuck, or fracture
in the upper extremity in the arms. So we see a lot of that."
of these injuries are caused by falling, mostly around the tub, shower
and toilet. A study published in the Morbidity and Mortality weekly
report shows most of these victims are women, which could be due to a
difference in lower body strength, bone mass or even a willingness to
"It's not exclusively in the elderly," says SMC
Emergency Dept. Dr. Steven Turner. "It's more related to a disability
that's resulted from other medical conditions or sometimes the effect of
In fact, injuries around the tub and shower are
most common among those between 15-24 years old. Researchers speculate
alcohol could play a factor, but for 22 year old Abby Merry, her trouble
in the past has come with racing against the clock while applying
"I went to hop up like this and I missed and I fell all the way back, landed here and feel down like that," says Merry.
She's fallen in the bathroom more than once. Clark says she's had the same trouble.
live in such a fast-paced society," says Clark. "Everybody's in a hurry
to do what they need to do so they can get on to the next thing."
say take your time and make sure walking surfaces are as dry as
possible, especially in and out of the shower. Also, use safety devices,
like grab bars and seating to help keep your balance.
something you think about routinely around the house," says Dr. Turner.
"So I imagine everyone's at risk for that, and not paying attention to
it in some cases."
Dr. Turner says the Summit Medical Center
Emergency Department treats several patients per week due to bathroom
injuries, and it could happen to anyone.
"I think everybody needs
to be aware regardless of what their situation is," says Clark.
"Because, like I said, it can change your life in an instant."
to the study, trauma to the head and neck are the most common injuries.
That's followed by damage to the lower torso, and the older the victim,
the more deadly these injuries can be.
Monday, May 7 2012, 09:20 PM CDT
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