Impact of a blizzard on an Irish Emergency Department
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To examine the effect of a blizzard in March 2018 on presentations to TUH ED.
A retrospective descriptive study of ED records from 1–5th of March 2018.
Of 479 presentations, 71 were related to the blizzard. Sixty-seven percent (n = 48) of presentations were due to injuries and 15% (n = 11) were due to medical conditions. Ten percent (n = 7) of presentations related to logistical issues and 7% (n = 5) were due to social reasons.
The volume of attendance fell initially during snowfall then rose sharply as the weather improved. Injuries were the predominant cause of presentations. Physical exertion while outdoors in the snow caused several patients to present with medical complaints. Heightened public awareness of the impact of weather warnings may help to prevent some of the social and logistical presentations to the ED. The exceptional dedication of the emergency service workforce is acknowledged and appreciated. Future planning is needed to keep morbidity and mortality from blizzards low.
KeywordsBlizzard Climate Climate change Emergency department Emergency medicine Emergency Planning Environment Overcrowding Planning Preparedness Prevention Snow Storm Weather
Health Service Executive
- Met Éireann
Irelands National Meteorological Service
Tallaght University Hospital
- 1.Met Eireann Monthly Weather Statements. Available from https://www.met.ie/climate/past-weather-statements. Last accessed December 2018