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Journal Article

Citation

Gates RL, Helmkamp JC, Wilson SL, Denning DA, Beaver BL. J. Trauma 2002; 53(4): 705-708.

Affiliation

Department of Surgery, Marshall University School of Medicine, Huntington, West Virginia 25701, USA.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2002, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins)

DOI

10.1097/01.TA.0000030053.69240.06

PMID

12394870

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Deer hunting is a popular activity in much of the United States. In West Virginia, over 350,000 people each year actively hunt deer. Although injuries and deaths caused by shooting-related incidents have declined, hunting injuries caused by falls from deer stands have not. We present a retrospective study from January 1994 through December 1999 to determine the number of and trauma resulting from deer stand-related incidents in West Virginia. METHODS: Data have been compiled from individual hospital and state trauma registries, patient charts, and Department of Natural Resources logs. RESULTS: A total of 90 individuals have been identified with injuries related to deer stand falls over the 6-year period. There were seven deaths. Most patients had multiple injuries that included extremity fracture (47%), spine fracture (36%), head injury (20%), pelvic fracture (10%), rib/clavicle fracture (11%), solid organ injury (6%), pneumothorax (3%), and other minor injuries (21%). The majority of accidents were associated with home-built as opposed to commercial stands, and most hunters were not using safety straps. Blood alcohol was elevated in only 7% of injured victims. CONCLUSION: Injuries from deer stand falls are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in this state. This is the largest series of hunting-related deer stand injuries reported in the current literature. Other states have successfully implemented prevention programs that have resulted in a reduction of these types of injuries. Our data emphasize the need to establish and promote preventative education programs for hunters using tree stands.

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