Wishard-Eskenazi Health Warns Public of Dangers When Walking and Biking

Level I Trauma center concerned after string of pedestrians hit by vehicles

CONTACT: Todd Harper
Phone: 317.630.7808
Pager: 317.310.5972
E-mail: Todd.Harper@wishard.edu

Indianapolis, June 4, 2013 – Due to a rash of pedestrians being hit while walking and biking on Indianapolis streets this spring, the medical staff of the Wishard-Eskenazi Health Level I Trauma Center has issued a warning to pedestrians and drivers to be careful when out on the roads.

Trauma centers like Wishard-Eskenazi Health are often the first stop for someone seriously injured. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the next 24 hours, on average, more than 460 people will be treated in an emergency department for traffic-related pedestrian injuries.  In the next two hours, on average, one pedestrian will die from injuries in a traffic crash.

"The reality is, with just some simple steps, many of these injuries can be prevented," said Dr. Thomas Hayward, attending surgeon, Wishard-Eskenazi Health Level I Trauma Center and assistant professor of surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine.  "We see people of all ages injured in pedestrian accidents, and, in most cases, the injuries are a result of someone not following proper precautions." 

Dr. Hayward added that one of the most common factors contributing to pedestrian accidents is a driver or pedestrian not paying attention. He said it is extremely important to always have your eyes and ears on the road.

Some tips to follow to avoid pedestrian injuries include:

  • Obey all traffic controls.
  • Put down your phone; these distractions are becoming a common occurrence.
  • Use reflectors and lights, and dress in light colored clothing.
  • Always use signals when turning or stopping.
  • Look out for cars and/or pedestrians.
  • Be careful when crossing an intersection.

The Wishard-Eskenazi Health Level I Trauma Center has worked to reduce accidental injuries, including pedestrian injuries, for several years. In 2010, a program titled Drive Your Bike was created to reduce bicycle injuries. Dr. Hayward, an avid cyclist himself, has been concerned about the number and causes of injuries on roads and wants to curb this trend. Dr. Hayward also helps with the Distracted, Excessive Speed, Aggressive and DUI, or (D.E.A.D.) Driving Program, aimed at combating the problem of preventable car crashes.

“Trauma center admission or death is an all-too-frequent consequence of poor and unsafe decisions, especially for younger adults,” Dr. Hayward said. “As medical professionals, it is important that we find a way to take a proactive community-based approach to preventing these injuries.”

The Wishard-Eskenazi Health Level I Trauma Center treats more than 2,500 injured patients each year and became the first verified Level I trauma center in the state in 1992. It remains one of only two adult Level I trauma centers in Indiana. A Level I trauma center is a comprehensive regional resource that is central to the trauma system. Trauma centers verified as Level I are capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury, from prevention to rehabilitation. Level I trauma centers are committed to injury prevention, public education and continuing training of the trauma team members as well as continued improvement through a comprehensive quality assessment program and an organized research effort to help direct new innovations in trauma care.