Emergency room visits spike in icy conditions

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Emergency rooms saw an increase in patients coming in Monday, many from ice-related injuries.

Many parking lots across the Grand Valley are still covered in ice and very slippery. St. Mary's emergency room officials said during the storm they saw double the amount of patients they would normally see.

The most common of those visits were from people falling on the ice.

"Every day it melts and refreezes, and it's really treacherous. It's pretty bad,” said Ken Tabor, a Grand Junction resident who walks with a cane and was worried about the icy conditions.

“It's not anybody's fault that all this is out here, this is Mother Nature, but it's the businesses fault when they don't take the responsibility to clean up their parking lots,” said Tabor.

Doctors said the reported injuries can be more serious than just hurting your pride.

“When you slip on the ice, your feet go out from under you and you fall backwards,” said Dr. Donald Nicolay, M.D. "The injuries we are seeing are related to lacerations on the back of the head, maybe head and neck injuries."

“People are aware of the dangerous driving conditions in icy conditions,” said Dirk Clingman, the Community Outreach Specialist with the Grand Junction Fire Department. "But it's really easy to forget the dangers of just walking outside. And we are encouraging you to avoid doing that if you didn't have a dire need to do so."

Many people say that avoiding going outside is easier said than done, so if you have to walk on ice, the fire department recommends walking like a penguin, leaning forward and taking small steps.

“Lean forward and its moving your center of gravity to right over your front leg as you step, try and step with your center of gravity straight up and down so you don't slide out from underneath yourself. That's the safest way to walk on ice,” said Clingman.

The staff here at Saint Mary's needed to call in extra doctors, nurse, and other staff members to keep up with the amount of injuries,

Staff members at community worked longer hours if needed.

While businesses are required to clear their sidewalks because they are public walkways, Grand Junction Police said parking lots are usually private probably not required to follow municipal codes.

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