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 Bellevues 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 citys subway injuries.
Jennifer Choi | EurekAlert!
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