Sledges are snow jokeBMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f700 (Published 05 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f700
- Alice E Clarke, foundation year 1 doctor1,
- Christopher Anderson, foundation year 1 doctor1,
- Michael Wall, STR 7 vascular surgeon1,
- David Robinson, consultant orthopaedic surgeon1,
- Steven Thrush, consultant breast surgeon1
The recent snow fall seriously affected the running of our general hospital service. Difficulties of staff, patients, and provisions getting to the hospital led to cancelled operations, high clinic non-attendance rates, and problems with staffing in the clinical and support settings. The icy weather also brought the expected increased number of falls causing fractures, bruises, and strains.
We also saw an increase in sledging injuries and an increased workload associated with this “gentle” recreational sport.1 The impact was felt especially in the emergency, orthopaedics, and general surgery departments. Interestingly, a large number of injuries were associated with sledging at night or after the consumption of alcohol.
Within three days we saw 20 orthopaedic injuries caused by sledging, which occurred in all age groups and varied in severity from minor fractures to serious injuries.
In general surgery, one patient had a ruptured spleen and needed a splenectomy, and another had a de-gloving injury of the scrotum and buttocks. In a previous cold spell, a patient died after hitting a tree at speed.
We therefore emphasise the dangers of sledging and recommend that it is avoided in poor light and after drinking alcohol.
Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f700
Competing interests: None declared.
Patient consent obtained.