ER doc shares Memorial Day safety tips


As we prepare for Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer, Seton’s emergency staff is doing its own preparing—for the unfortunate uptick in traumas they typically see this holiday weekend.

Christopher Ziebell, MD is medical director of the emergency department at Dell Ascension Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas. Ziebell and the Dell Ascension Seton trauma team see some of the region’s most critically injured patients. Dell Ascension Seton is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.

“This is really the time for people who have been cooped up for months to get outdoors,” Ziebell said. “While it’s good to get outside, it’s also the time of year we see an increase in trauma patients coming through our doors.”

To avoid injury this holiday, take it from Ziebell and the docs on the front-line of trauma—follow these five tips to stay safe:

1. Watch your alcohol intake.

If you drink alcohol, please do so responsibly. Always have a designated driver, drink plenty of fluids and don’t drink on an empty stomach.

2. Be careful around fire.

Campfires and grills are the usual culprits in Memorial Day burn accidents, so cook with care and pay close attention when you’re around these types of fire. Always supervise young children around fire.

3. Watch yourself and others around water.

Boating accidents and water-related accidents frequently happen this time of year. Doctors say to never boat while intoxicated. Assign a designated driver and remember that the geography of lakes often changes. Remember that kids need constant supervision around water. Even adults should use the buddy system and never swim alone!

4. Drive safely.

Don’t drive while intoxicated. If you’re heading on a long road trip, make sure you’re well rested before taking off. Pay attention to others on the road and avoid distractions like cell phones. Texting and driving don’t mix.

5. Ease into your summer sport routine.

Ziebell says coming out of winter, he often sees injures from people who jump full-speed into a summer sport routine. “If you haven’t worked out in a while, that can bring on a bunch of injuries like pulled muscles, strained backs, broken bones, cardiac issues and dehydration.” Try easing into an exercise regimen instead.

Learn more about trauma care at Seton.