Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NYU medical experts analyze subway injuries

01.02.2006


A new survey of subway injuries provides a rare glimpse into what happens to people who are hit by oncoming trains. In New York City, where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reports that 7 million passengers ride the transit system daily, there is no publicly available record of such tragedies. NYU School of Medicine trauma specialists, who conducted the survey at Bellevue Hospital Center, explored who is most at risk for severe subway injuries, why accidents occur, and which preventative measures could be most effective.



"The majority of patients had more minor injuries, like bruises or scratches, or they lost a finger or a toe," says Amber A. Guth, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery at NYU and primary author of the survey, published in the March 2006 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. During the study, she served as Surgical Director of Bellevue’s Intensive Care Unit. "About half the patients went home right away," she says. Among the minority who lost arms or legs, the limbs were either severed by the train itself or were so mangled that they could not be repaired by a team of vascular surgeons, neurosurgeons, and plastic surgeons.

Because of their expertise in dealing with trauma and in performing microvascular surgery on severed limbs, Bellevue sees the majority of subway accident patients in New York City. Last year, the hospital was chosen by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) to be the official referral center for all the city’s subway injuries.


Dr. Guth and her colleagues reviewed the cases of 208 patients treated at Bellevue from 1990 to 2003. Their average age was just under 39, though they ranged from five to 93 years old. Approximately 80 percent of the patients were male. The vast majority, 164 patients, did not lose any extremities during the accident. Among the others, injuries varied from the loss of a single finger, for six patients, to the irreparable damage of an arm or leg, for 28 patients. One person lost all four limbs. At the end of their stay, 111 people returned home, while 73 were discharged to a physical rehabilitation center or psychiatric facility. Twenty patients died in the hospital.

During the years of 2000 to 2003, 25 of 56 patients treated were unemployed, and one quarter of injuries were the result of suicide attempts.

"Our goal was really to see if we saw a pattern to the injuries," says Dr. Guth. "We were curious to see if they related to any societal changes, because people who are injured very often are very marginal people, with less economic resources and a lot of psychiatric issues."

When the results were paired with unemployment and homelessness rates, a pattern emerges. At times when the economy weakened, subway injuries did appear to increase, a trend that could be helpful in prevention efforts. "How can we identify groups that are at higher risk? How can we target these people? When you put your resources towards something, it needs to be useful," Dr. Guth explains.

One answer, says Dr. Guth, is surprisingly simple--slow down. If trains enter the station at reduced speeds, motormen would have more time to notice people on the tracks and stop before impact. Any injuries that did happen would be far less severe. In some newer subway systems, such as in Hong Kong, platforms are being built with barriers between passengers and the tracks. But in New York City, where the subway is over a century old, such changes would be prohibitively expensive, Dr. Guth explains. The article also suggests that, during dips in the economy, law enforcement officers and subway staff should be especially alert to people whose behavior suggests they are considering a suicide attempt.

The authors of the new study are: Amber A. Guth, M.D., Andrea O’Neill, R.N., Thomas Diflo, M.D., and H. Leon Pachter, M.D. of NYU School of Medicine.

Jennifer Choi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nyumc.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>