In many cases, a fall is not a serious problem. It may cause a few bumps
and bruises that heal by themselves within a matter of days. But for some patients,
injuries from falls can lead to hospitalizations, long-term disability, or even death. It’s
important to know when to seek emergency care at Riverside Community Hospital.
When Serious Injuries Are Evident
A fall can cause a wide range of injuries, most notably fractures and
head injuries. An emergency medicine physician can diagnose, stabilize,
and treat patients who have sustained bone fractures and concussions,
as well as less severe injuries like sprains. Bone fractures are generally
indicated by an inability to use or place weight on the affected body
part. Patients may feel intense pain and notice swelling or signs of deformity.
Head injuries can be less obvious, since they do not always involve bleeding
lacerations of the head. A concussion occurs when the brain moves around
inside the skull, striking the interior walls of the skull and inflicting
damage. This can cause problems such as dizziness, loss of consciousness,
When It Affects a Pediatric or Geriatric Patient
Unfortunately, not all patients are able to clearly articulate their symptoms.
When a young child falls, it’s wise to take the precautionary measure
of bringing him or her to the ER—just in case. The ER physician
can determine if the child has sustained internal injuries. Seniors are
at a particularly high risk of falls, but according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fewer than half of seniors who fall inform a doctor. Since seniors
have a higher risk of bone fractures due to osteoporosis, it’s advisable
for them to seek a medical evaluation after every fall.
When It’s a Fall from an Elevated Position
Even when an individual has an average risk of sustaining serious injuries
from a fall, a fall from an elevation can inflict considerable damage
such as internal bleeding. Internal injuries may be indicated by dizziness,
fainting, lightheadedness, and pain. For individuals who are taking blood-thinning
medications, it’s particularly important to seek emergency medical
care when internal injuries are suspected.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a true medical emergency, please
call 911 without delay. For non-emergent inquiries about the medical services
available in Riverside, call a registered nurse at (951) 788-3463.
Riverside Community Hospital is a leading provider of high-quality emergency care, family medicine,
and specialty medical services.