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Intersection: Summer In The Emergency Room

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Orlando Health wants hospitals across the country to prepare for mass shootings. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Temperatures are not the only thing to increase during the summer. Emergency room visits also increase during the summer when kids are on summer break and tourists are enjoying the Florida weather.

Dr. Christopher Hunter, assistant program director of the Orlando Health emergency medicine residency and the associate medical director of Orange County EMS, says sports-related injuries are seen more during the summertime along with pool-related cases. 

“We also unfortunately see some of the more serious kind of injuries that you think about with summertime play especially when you think about drownings and things along those lines with pool safety,” Hunter says.

Hunter says people “don’t really think about how dangerous water can be and how quickly it can become dangerous.” Another danger in the water is amoeba meningitis. Although it’s rare, Hunter says they’re “exceedingly deadly” and he’s only cared for two patients with the illness.

“Technically within the house of medicine, this is a universally fatal illness. It’s probably more rare than being struck by lightning, certainly more rare than being struck by lightning so it’s one of those things that captures the mind of people because it’s just so scary but at the same time it’s still rare,” Hunter says.

Hunter says the most interesting thing about working in an emergency department in Orlando is the amount of tourists visiting. He says pediatric visitors make it even more unique when foundations bring very ill children or families that want to take their ill kids to the theme parks.

“It’s not as rare for us in the children’s ER to see people with extraordinarily rare genetic disorders that happen to be in town for, whether it’s a conference for muscular dystrophy or whether it’s just a patient with one of those genetic disorders [with names] you can barely pronounce,” Hunter says.

“The emergency department is a window to humanity. Every day, every shift there’s something that kind of makes your eyes go wow look at that.”

This interview first aired on Intersection in July 2017.

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