April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month!

In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded! At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.

The Department of Surgery, Section of  Acute Care & Trauma Surgery at Boston Medical Center is asking you to take the pledge.

Please fill out a quick 3 question survey taking the pledge to “read the road, not your phone” and you will be entered into a drawing to win a Boston Trauma goodie bag!

Click this link to take make the pledge: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QYV5KN9

Lisa Allee, MSW, LICSW
Injury Prevention Coordinator, Section of Acute Care & Trauma Surgery, Boston Medical Center
Instructor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine

Older Adult Falls and Prevention

Congratulations to Peter Burke, MD, Chief of Trauma Services at Boston Medical Center and Professor of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine and Lisa Allee, MSW,  Injury Prevention Coordinator at Boston Medical Center and Instructor of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine on their recent publication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looking at older adult fall prevention opportunities in the pre-hospital setting.

Please see the following press release from the CDC highlighting their new study:


Older adults seen by EMS after a fall may be more receptive to fall prevention information

Among people aged 65 years and older, falling is the leading cause of emergency department visits. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are often called to help older adults who fell, with most resulting in a transport to a hospital. “Older Adult Falls Seen by Emergency Medical Services Providers: A Prevention Opportunity” is a new CDC study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM). This study’s main goals were to determine where falls occurred and under which circumstances patients were transported by EMS, as well as to identify future fall prevention opportunities.

Study Findings

The study shows that 17% of all 911 calls for adults 65 and older were from falls. More than one in five (21%) of these emergency 911 calls did not result in a patient being transported to a medical facility by EMS. The most frequent reasons given for non-transport included patients refused care (57.0%), were given emergency treatment and released (20.9%), and cases when no treatment was required (19.2%). Patient demographics, such as gender, age, and location of the fall, also had a large influence on the transport decision.

Since most falls occur at home (60.2%), this creates teachable moments with EMS providers who could provide important fall prevention information to older adults in relatively private settings. This may be more acceptable to those older adults who might be worried about keeping their independence as they grow older.

Between 1994 and 2008, the number of transports for older adults increased 75%. As the population continues to age rapidly, more older adults will fall, and the responsibilities of EMS to help these patients will increase. Although there has been no widespread national effort to have EMS providers incorporate fall prevention into their activities, this study offers additional evidence that incorporating fall prevention into EMS calls is a feasible and underutilized prevention opportunity.

CDC and Older Adult Fall Prevention

In our quickly aging population, older adult falls are a fast-growing and costly public health problem. Falls are a leading cause of death and the most frequent cause of emergency department (ED) visits for injury among people aged 65 years and older. Evidence-based fall prevention materials are available from CDC, including information to reduce medical costs, increase cost effectiveness of fall prevention interventions, and improve the health and quality of life for older adults. Available resources include:


Bystander intervention before EMS arrival indicates areas for future first aid training

A second CDC study, “Bystander Intervention Prior to the Arrival of Emergency Medical Services: Comparing Assistance across Types of Medical Emergencies”, was recently published in the journal Prehospital Emergency Care. This paper addresses the situational factors of the bystander offering help in medical emergencies. The study used a large database of real-world events documenting bystander assistance from the 2012 National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) which included over 16.2 million records of 911 calls populated by EMS providers in 42 states. The goal was to determine which factors influenced bystander interventions to give aid and assistance during a medical emergency.

Study Findings

The likelihood of a bystander intervening is dependent of the type of medical emergency. Bystanders were most likely to intervene when the patient had cardiac distress/chest pain and were least likely to intervene when there was a perceived psychiatric disorder or after a sexual assault. Although bystanders are not always present at the scene, the results of this research help us better understand patterns of intervention when bystanders are present. For example, bystanders are more likely to help when there is a higher risk of death for the patient.

Future first aid trainings could therefore be tailored to assist with the most frequent types of injuries and illnesses found in this broad study, such as traumatic injury, cardiac distress, or when the symptom is pain or change in responsiveness. First aid training programs could also focus on developing and encouraging bystander interventions when situations are less life threatening. Additional analysis of this data, looking at specific bystander actions under specific medical emergencies, could further strengthen first aid training programs. These actions can enhance future bystander assistance and help save more lives.

Learn More

For more information on the research articles featured in this announcement or for additional resources:

Carbon Monoxide Safety

The frigid cold this week is a reminder of the winter that is upon us and the snow that has yet to come.  This brings to mind the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and what we can do to prevent carbon monoxide related injuries and possible death.  Lisa Allee, Injury Prevention Coordinator at Boston Medical Center, wants to remind everyone of the importance of clearing your undercarriage and tailpipe before getting in your vehicle this winter, along with the many other ways to prevent CO poisoning.   Please see the attached flyer from our Office of the State Fire Marshall for information and ways to protect you and your family.

Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month

Today was the kickoff opening ceremony at the Statehouse for Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month which takes place November 20th through December 20th.  Boston Medical Center’s Community Violence Response Team (CVRT) was there in support of survivors and to provide education on services offered through the CVRT.  The Community Violence Response Team provides free mental health services to victims of violence and their families as well as those impacted by homicide in and around the Boston community.  For more information, please contact Lisa Allee, MSW, LICSW at (617) 414-8007.

Timothy Munzert, MSW, LCSW, clinician with the CVRT and Jennifer Kong, clinical intern with the CVRT at the Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness opening ceremony.

Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month photo

Car Seat Check-Up Event!

Lisa Allee, MSW, LICSW, Injury Prevention Coordinator in the Sections of Acute Care & Trauma Surgery and Surgical Critical Care at Boston Medical Center will be partnering with Safe Kids Boston on Saturday, October 17 for a Car Seat Check-Up Event.  The event will take place from 11 am – 2 pm at the South Bay Center in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  It will be on a first come, first serve basis or if interested please call Boston EMS at (617) 343-6891 to schedule an appointment.

Car seat event flyer

Boston Medical Center Emergency Medicine Residents’ Class of 2019: A Unity Tour to Meet the Neighbors

ED photo

Photo description: Tina Chery (r), Founder, President and CEO of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in Fields Corner.

Boston Medical Center Emergency Medicine Residents’ Class of 2019: A Unity Tour to Meet the Neighbors

By: Jonathan Santiago, MD (PGY 1)

On June 19th, 2015, the emergency medicine intern class of 2019 set out to discover the neighborhoods they will serve for the next four years. For many interns – several coming from as far as Hawaii and Ireland – it was their first time visiting the streets of Roxbury and Dorchester. Led by Dr. Ed Bernstein and Project ASSERT staff, the community tour was first organized three years ago with two purposes: (1) to visit and learn about the community’s resources; and (2) expose BMC’s newest doctors to the social ills that manifest in ED visits. “We wanted to welcome the interns to not only BMC but the community-at-large…to encourage them to be stakeholders in the community’s health. We want them to get involved and not be afraid to enter these neighborhoods because of rumors they hear…they are now a part of us,” said Ludy Young, a Project ASSERT supervisor of twenty-one years and Dorchester resident. With this notion of service and unity, twelve interns would soon begin a day full of inspiration, reflection, and initiation into the greater BMC family.

The morning began with a presentation on the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program at BMC, a public health intervention that has become a national model in addressing substance abuse disorders. The knowledge gained during these morning exercises proved helpful in understanding the role of Hope House, a residential treatment center for recovering substance abusers and the first visit of the day. “Visiting Hope House was a nice way to get exposed to some of the follow-up and transition options that are available for patients suffering with substance abuse issues.

Although there’s clearly a shortage of these kinds of facilities, and not enough high quality rehabilitation programs out there, it’s great to know that there are passionate people who are working to improve the lives of folks who are trying to get clean and make a change in their lives,” said Haley Thun, an intern from Atlanta, Georgia. The visit included the touching testimony of a former user, now clean for many years and expressing his gratitude for Hope House. “I can’t imagine how hard it would be to do the right thing for patients with substance abuse disorders in our ED if it weren’t for programs like this one,” continued Haley.

Please click here to read full article.

Child Passenger Safety Week

Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 1-12 years old?  According to safercar.gov, from 2006 to 2010, 4,028 children (age 12 and younger in a passenger vehicle) were killed and an estimated 660,000 were injured, in motor vehicle traffic crashes – more than the entire population of Boston, Massachusetts.  Many times deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.

CPS-RightSeat 8.5X11_national.indd

At Boston Medical Center (BMC), the Department of Surgery, Section of Trauma and the Department of Public Safety collaborate on a child passenger safety program.  The program includes trained officers, called Child Passenger Safety Technicians, who complete multiple car seat fit checks and installations each week.  Referrals come from the inpatient wards as well as the community.  For more information please call our Injury Prevention Coordinator, Lisa Allee, at 617-414-8007 or visit our website at http://www.bmc.org/traumasurgery/injuryprevention/patients-caregivers.htm.

*Courtesy of Safercar.gov and the Ad Council