Trinity Health Physicians Offer Tips and Strategies for Preventing Summer Tragedies

Physicians Offer Tips and Strategies for Preventing Summer Tragedies

Dr. John Columbus, director of emergency medicine, Trinity Health, and Dr. Matthew Colflesh, chief medical officer, Trinity Health, spoke with local media about “trauma season,” which occurs when the weather is warm and people are pursuing outdoor activities because of the nice weather. However, most heat- and water-related injuries can be prevented, they said. “It’s maybe going too fast in your ATV, or not paying attention while you’re driving, or those kinds of things, or just stepping in a hole,” Dr. Columbus told WTRF’s Colin Roose, in a report that can be found here. “Broken bones, head injuries, motor vehicle accidents, those kinds of things, lots of lacerations.”

For adults, alcohol is a common factor in these accidents, he added, and when it comes to family gatherings, inattention can often lead to water-related tragedies involving children, with adults failing to provide proper supervision. “There’s about 3,960 drownings in the U.S. every year,” Dr. Columbus explained to WTOV’s Jessica Riley, whose report can be found here. These drownings usually involve children who are under the age of 15, Dr. Columbus said, who are classified as “a high risk,” while children from ages 1 to 4 are “very high risk.”

“You have to understand kids are little scientists and want to explore,” Dr. Colflesh said. Dr. Columbus and Dr. Colflesh offered a couple of tips and strategies for preventing drowning deaths. These include:
1. Appointing one person to be in charge of the water. This person should be clearly identified to all guests.  “If you have a group gathering like that, rather than assume that somebody’s watching the kids…have somebody wear a necklace, so that person’s responsible,” Dr. Colflesh said. And if that person needs a break, have them give the necklace to someone else.
2. Employ the 10 to 20 rule. “Scan the pool every 10 seconds and only be 20 seconds away from the water, if needed,” Dr. Colflesh said.
3. If you own a pool, learn CPR. This can be an important “preventative step” in case of an emergency and to decrease water-related tragedies.
4. Finally, fence in the area around the pool, especially if you have small children. “You got to pay attention when you’re out at commercial swimming pools and, especially, residential pools,” Dr. Colflesh said. “You just got to have your eyes on your kids at all times.”

We have provided additional resources to further inform you, including a PowerPoint presentation Dr. Columbus put together about swimming pool and drowning accidents and an infographic containing additional tips and strategies for water safety.

The Emergency Services of Trinity Health System are available at Trinity Medical Center West. The Trinity Medical Center West Emergency Department has been remodeled and expanded to accommodate patients requiring treatment. Local residents should familiarize themselves with these services, so, in an emergency, they can access emergency and urgent care services properly. If you have any questions regarding

Emergency Services, please call The Professionals at 740-264-8000.

If you have specific questions, feel free to email us at [email protected].

Remember to always call 911 for an emergency.


Swimming Pool and Drowning Accidents (PDF for download)