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Impact of a blizzard on an Irish Emergency Department

  • Laura HeffernanEmail author
Original Article
  • 12 Downloads

Abstract

Aim

To examine the effect of a blizzard in March 2018 on presentations to TUH ED.

Methods

A retrospective descriptive study of ED records from 1–5th of March 2018.

Results

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.

Discussion/conclusion

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.

Keywords

Blizzard Climate Climate change Emergency department Emergency medicine Emergency Planning Environment Overcrowding Planning Preparedness Prevention Snow Storm Weather 

Abbreviations

ED

Emergency Department

HSE

Health Service Executive

Met Éireann

Irelands National Meteorological Service

SVT

Supraventricular tachycardia

TUH

Tallaght University Hospital

Notes

Reference

  1. 1.
    Met Eireann Monthly Weather Statements. Available from https://www.met.ie/climate/past-weather-statements. Last accessed December 2018

Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineTallaght University HospitalCookstownIreland

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