Snowy Sidewalks Send Sprains (and More) to Emergency Rooms

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When the snow falls on city sidewalks, so do people — and at least some of them end up in hospital emergency rooms.

"We're seeing a rash of slip-and-fall injuries, from the snow, slush and ice," said Dr. Jeffrey Lazar, at New York Presbyterian Lower Manhattan. "We've seen everything from sprained ankles and broken wrists to an eyeball injury and a punctured lung."

Lazar said the E.R. is not more busy overall, because many of the people with less urgent maladies are staying away. Other hospitals, too, reported a similar decrease in low-level cases paired with an increase in snow-related injuries.

Outside the Lower Manhattan facility, EMS workers said the roads were in better shape than expected.

"We've been able to get around just fine," said New York-Presbyterian ambulance driver Danny Meisels. "There's much less traffic on the roads than usual, which is a great thing, and since the snow stopped, there's just a lot of slush, but it's not that icy."

Things can be tougher for EMS crews on sidewalks.

"Moving patients or getting to them or getting to their homes — that's actually a little harder, because of the slush and the ice and the snow," Meisels said.