Metro Denver hospitals report spike in fall-related injuries after snowstorm

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DENVER -- This week's record-setting cold, coupled with snow, is keeping Colorado emergency rooms busy.

Hospitals all across the Denver metro are reporting a big spike in fall-related accidents.

St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood has treated 26 patients for ice-related falls over the past two days.

A total of 70 patients were treated for fall-related injuries at all of Centura Health's facilities in the Denver metro area.

Most of those patients are elderly.

"Especially in elderly patients, a simple fall can be a lethal event," said Dr. Winston Tripp with St. Anthony Hospital.

Tripp says the most common fall-related injuries are broken writs and hips. Hips are especially worrisome.

"As you grow older, it will take longer for your bones to heal. I would say in elderly patients, it can be an added month or two," said Tripp. "These injuries can be debilitating. Unfortunately, these patients become immobile and can develop other diseases like pneumonia that are life-threatening.

Tripp says patients on blood thinners need to be especially careful.

"Elderly patients on blood thinners, a fall can be devastating, especially if they hit their head," he said.

Several hospitals tell FOX31 they typically see a large number of patients after early-season storms, but this one was especially bad because there was so much snow followed by record-cold temperatures.

Hospitals are bracing for another rush of patients Thursday night because of Halloween, so they're urging people not to delay in shoveling their sidewalks.

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