Snow Shoveling Causes More than 11,000 Injuries and 100 Fatalities Each Year
The Pacific Northwest has been hit with a snow storm and very cold temperatures. With more snow and continued freezing temperatures in the forecast, there will be snowy roads and driveways for at least a week. As people get outside to shovel their sidewalks and driveways, they should know to be very careful. Data published by pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov reveals that there are about 11,500 injuries each year from shoveling snow, including 100 fatalities.
Common injuries from snow shoveling
The most common types of injuries from shoveling snow are soft tissue injuries, making up 55 percent of all snow shoveling injuries. After that, lacerations account for 16 percent of injuries, followed by fractures and heart-related injuries at seven percent each. But the injuries that proved the most dangerous – responsible for half of the hospitalizations and 100 percent of the fatalities – were the cardiovascular (heart) injuries.
Why are cardiovascular injuries associated with snow shoveling?
The two main factors that make shoveling snow a potentially dangerous activity for cardiovascular events is the cold, which can cause blood vessels to constrict and decrease blood supply to the heart, combined with the exertion required to shovel snow. As the heart begins to beat faster from the exertion, the body has trouble getting enough blood supply to the heart – increasing the risk of a heart attack.
The deeper the snow, the more effort it takes to shovel it aside and the more risk there is of hospitalization and death from a cardiac event.
How to protect yourself while shoveling snow
Even a very active person who does cardiovascular exercise several times a week should protect themselves from a snow shoveling accident by following these tips from health experts:
- Do some warm up exercises such as jumping jacks and stretching
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to breathe in warmer air
- Take frequent breaks, especially if you start to feel your heart racing or you feel numbness or pain in your arms or chest.
- Push the snow out of the way (do not lift it)
- Choose an ergonomically designed shovel so you can avoid bending over as much as possible
- If you have been diagnosed with heart disease or other cardiovascular issues, it is best to hire someone else to shovel snow for you
Failure to diagnose heart attack
Unfortunately, failure to diagnose heart attack is the most common medical malpractice mistake. There are two ways that failure to diagnose heart attack can affect people who are shoveling snow:
- A person goes to the Emergency Room with signs of a heart attack but does not get the help they need because their condition is misdiagnosed. This error can lead to death or serious injury.
- A treating doctor failed to refer the patient to a specialist or provide diagnostic testing for heart disease. Therefore, the patient didn’t realize they should avoid strenuous activities such as shoveling snow.
Seek the help of a medical malpractice attorney
If you were injured because of medical negligence or lost a loved one due to a preventable medical error, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced medical malpractice attorney fight for justice on your behalf. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a medical negligence lawyer. Call the most experienced practicing medical malpractice attorneys Bellingham has at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing people injured by medical negligence in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!