A hospital in southeast France has been overwhelmed with ski accidents, with as many as 100 people being admitted every day due to mild temperatures affecting snow consistency and more people out on the slopes.
The Hôpital Sud de Grenoble, Isère (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), is in a “catastrophic” situation, said head of the emergency department, Dr Jean-Jacques Banihachémi, to FranceInfo.
The spike in accidents has been blamed on the mild temperatures, which are making the snow more slushy and ‘heavy’ to turn in. This is compounded by the high numbers of people travelling to the mountains after two years of Covid disruption and closures.
Dr Banihachémi said: “We are getting between 80 to 100 people per day. The problem is with the acceptance of patients, whether we can hospitalise them and especially if they need surgery.
“For example, on Sunday [February 19] alone, we had to transfer patients to Lyon [hospital] for fractures that needed surgical intervention. There was no more space in Grenoble. It’s catastrophic.
“What is quite alarming is the number of femur [thigh bone] fractures in young people. It’s very serious, because these are relatively heavy surgical interventions. We have also seen an increase in knee and leg fractures. For the upper limbs, shoulder and wrist fractures are the main issues.”
The doctor said that the “number of accidents is proportional to the number of visitors”. He said that record numbers on the slopes this year have “been felt in emergency rooms, and with the number of injuries of course”.
He recommended that every skier wears a helmet and one that is in good condition. He also advised:
Watch out for fatigue. “Many accidents happen at the end of the day”, he said.
Beware of speed. “This is a very significant factor in accidents.”
Know the rules of the mountain. “Learn how to ski respectfully and which skiers have priority on the pistes.”
The warning comes just days after four people – including an American and two British tourists – died on the slopes in France after falling while skiing off-piste or while ski touring.
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