New Years Eve: Busiest Weekend of the Year for Hospitals
Every year many people celebrate when we change our calendars to a new year. While many are celebrating, the bay area hospitals are preparing for the busiest weekend of the year. This year New Years Eve falls on a Saturday leaving an extra day to sleep in and recover from celebrating the night before. Since the holiday falls on a Saturday, it is expected that this celebration will be worse in terms of accidents and fatalities than last year.
New Years Eve is a day where many people celebrate with alcohol and there are typically many deaths, fights, and avoidable accidents. Last year in San Francisco there was around a 50 percent increase in the number of patients seen over the previous year. More specifically there were more than 100 911 calls in San Francisco alone. Last year New Years Eve fell on a Friday which caused the spike in the number of injuries. Since this year the holiday falls on a Saturday, officials are expecting that the number of accidents and injuries could be much higher this year.
Bay area emergency room workers and doctors are now bracing for what they expect to be the busiest weekend of the entire year. Dr. Malini Sing, the interim medical director for SF General stated that "We're already preparing to see more patients… It's just a reality of New Year's Eve."
Alcohol has been a contributing factor in more than half of the injuries that sent people to emergency rooms around the holidays especially when drinking alcohol is a key part in the celebration. The worst alcohol related injuries are typically the cause of drinking and driving. However, doctors and emergency room workers also expect to see bad injuries from other activities while drinking, not just driving. There are typically accidents that occur due to drunken biking, or from falling over or off high places while drunk and ending up with broken bones or head wounds. There are also a number of patients that are admitted to the emergency room due to overdosing on alcohol. Most alcohol overdose patients are typically younger people that do not understand what their limit is. Dr. Steven Polevoi, UCSF medical director for the UCSF emergency department, reassured people that they should be careful when drinking by stating that "I don't want people to think I'm encouraging drinking, but if you do, you have to drink responsibly."