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Fractures during pandemic hurting old-aged patients harder (October 17 is World Trauma Day)

IANS Oct 17, 2020

While the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant reduction in the load of fracture patients among the younger population, the incidence of fragility fractures among the aged emerged as an area of concern, say the doctors on the eve of World Trauma Day.

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There are reported instances of mortality among elderly patients who failed to receive timely medical intervention for fractures suffered during the lockdown and subsequently. According to them, there is an urgent need to enhance awareness about the need to handle fractures to elderly people at the earliest. Many people are scared to step out these days, more so to visit a hospital. But, unless aged people who suffer a fracture due to fragility or a fall receive timely care, the impact could be devastating, physically and mentally.

Hip fractures in the elderly are overwhelming injuries that frequently result in long-term disability and can even lead to death, they said. Elderly patients with fractures associated with medical co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, COPD, and obesity are severely affected by associated infections, due to reduced functional reserves and weakened immune systems. Such patients should be operated as soon as they are medically optimised.

"There is a significantly higher risk of mortality in elderly patients with fractures and hence they should only be operated in a facility with robust intensive care. Delay in ensuring right treatment could result in a permanent disability or even worse among the aged. Not just physical, such incidents could leave a strong negative impact mentally, hence, it is strongly recommended that old-aged people are taken to hospital without much ado and given proper treatment," said Dr. Sree Sowjanya Patibandla, HOD & Consultant Emergency Medicine Physician, Continental Hospitals.

According to Dr. Satheesh Kumar Kailasam, Group Director - Emergency Response, Medicover Hospitals, traumatic injuries are a leading cause of disability, and the ones caused to the brain leave patients exceptionally debilitating. "When it comes to aged people, the impact is devastating in most cases. Hence, ensuring treatment within the 'golden hour' of the incident is a must. Delayed response at times is as good as no response and it could be too late even for the medical fraternity to rectify the damage."

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