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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Carl Kanefsky, Communications Director
(302) 255-9047, Pager

Date: April 4, 2011


Injury Prevention is Focus of National Public Health Week, April 4-10

Injury hospitalizations in Delaware have nearly doubled in the last decade according to the Delaware Trauma System Registry operated by Delaware's Division of Public Health. From 2,378 hospitalizations in 2000 to 4,433 in 2009, unintentional injury is the state's number one killer and disabler of residents from age 1 to 44, with 706 fatalities from 2004-2008. The majority of these injuries and fatalities are related to motor vehicles.

During National Public Health Week, April 4-10, Delaware safety experts remind residents that "safety is no accident." Experts say established precautions such as wearing seat belts and helmets, and following the rules of the road are effective in preventing these injuries. However, some individuals have not yet incorporated the benefits of safety technology in their routine. This includes complying with Delaware's law of not texting while driving and using a hands-free device while using a cell phone and driving.

"Instead of thinking there is nothing they can do to keep themselves safe, Delawareans need to take an active role in prevention," said Mary Sue Jones, RN, MS, state trauma system coordinator in the Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS). However, in a review of 2003 - 2009 traffic deaths statewide, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety found that the greatest number of unrestrained fatalities occurred between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. "Using common sense and playing an active role in precautionary measures will save lives," Jones said.

Dr. Ross Megargel, DPH's OEMS medical director and an emergency physician at Christiana Care, identifies wearing headgear as one of the most important safety steps people can take. "We see a lot of people with serious head injuries from ATVs, bikes, sporting events and recreation," he said. "Sadly, once you have suffered a serious head injury, you will never be the same person."

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Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.