Slip-sliding all the way to the ER

At Rothman Orthopaedic Urgent Care center, orthotist Britani Walsh tells Pat Miller how to deal with the cast on her broken wrist.
At Rothman Orthopaedic Urgent Care center, orthotist Britani Walsh tells Pat Miller how to deal with the cast on her broken wrist. (MICHAEL VITEZ / Staff)
Posted: January 12, 2014


Pat Miller, 59, of Clementon, walked down her front walk at 7:15 a.m. Friday going to work, slipped on the ice, and broke the first bone of her life - her right wrist.

The timing couldn't be worse. Her daughter is getting married in the first week of February.

"So I'll probably have a cast," she lamented. "Maybe they can glitter it up."

Few in the Philadelphia area expected the ground to be a sheet of ice Friday morning, certainly not Miller, a secretary with Moorestown Township schools. Her husband left for work at 5:30 a.m., before the freezing rain and falling temperatures created havoc. Like most victims Friday, she had no warning.

Area emergency rooms and urgent-care centers were filled with injuries. At Hahnemann University Hospital, the emergency room was "slammed" with slip-and-fall cases and patients injured in car accidents Friday morning, spokeswoman Giana DeMedio said.

At one point, as the ER treated two patients who had fallen on the ice and a third involved in a car accident, four ambulances lined up at the hospital's back door with patients waiting to be treated, DeMedio said, adding: "It was nothing we couldn't handle."

In the suburbs, Riddle Memorial Hospital in Middletown Township, Delaware County, had several patients taken to the emergency room for ice-related injuries, including one involved in a multicar crash on Route 1.

In Camden County, Miller, the Moorestown schools secretary, was also scrambling for care. Her daughter drove her to Rothman Orthopaedic Urgent Care in Marlton.

"The sidewalk was a sheet of ice, and I didn't realize it," Miller said. "And I just went down."

She was in good spirits, looking at the positive - "things could be a lot worse."

Before Miller went home, after having a plaster splint put on her wrist, orthotist Britani Walsh explained the fine points of bathing with your arm in a trash bag.

Walsh, who walks around with a bucket of plaster, was busy.

"Mostly wrists," she said.

Meg Biddle, 62, of Moorestown, fractured her left arm just below the shoulder around 11:30 a.m. Her husband, Chris, had been out and told her to stay inside.

"I'd like to rewind the clock," she said, "to just before I thought it was a good idea to step out on my back deck.

"I opened the back door to let the dog out," she explained. "I took one step. I knew there was ice, but our steps are made of stone, and it looked like wet stone. I put one foot down. It started as a split, and momentum carried me down all five steps in a full body roll."

She sat in the waiting room at Rothman, a bag of ice on her ankle, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. X-rays would show the fracture. "I'm lucky I didn't break my neck," she said.

Karyn Alexander, a grandmother in her 60s from Somerdale, was recruited to take her 17-year-old grandson to Rothman. He'd slipped and broken his wrist walking the dog before school.

"It hurt," said her grandson, whose name couldn't be used because his parents weren't available to give consent.

And the dog?

"Fine. No trouble at all."

215-854-5639 @michaelvitez

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