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Emergency rooms slower than expected after storm

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Few people have visited emergency rooms after slips on ice-covered walkways, but hospital officials wonder if the rush just hasn’t started yet.

Heavy snowfall usually brings a steady stream of patients into emergency rooms with broken bones and heart attacks from shoveling. But after up to 11 inches of snow Wednesday buried Johnson County, local hospitals didn’t have any big spikes in patient numbers.

On Wednesday, Johnson Memorial Hospital treated three patients with weather-related injuries from two falls and a vehicle accident, community relations coordinator Casey DeArmitt said.

“I think people listened and stayed inside,” she said.

Community Hospital South in Indianapolis saw an increase in the number of patients who were transported by ambulance because they didn’t want to drive on the snowy roads, but the overall number of patients was about normal, nurse manager Amanda Gonzalez said.

But as more people left their homes Thursday, Johnson Memorial employees were preparing for more patients who hurt themselves falling or shoveling snow, DeArmitt said.

Community Hospital South also expected to see more patients Thursday because of the snow, as well as patients who put off treatment for chronic conditions during Christmas, Gonzalez said.

Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis had a small jump in patients Wednesday night, but it had fewer patients than expected for the storm, director of emergency services India Owens said. The number of patients visiting the hospital had returned to normal Thursday morning.

Injuries from falls, including broken bones, and snow shoveling are often what send people to the emergency room during snowstorms. Shoveling can injure people’s backs and also cause heart attacks for those who aren’t conditioned and are trying to clear their driveways or sidewalks quickly, Owens said.

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