For the past few weeks, Boises winter has caused lots of headaches along with bone breaks, bruises, sprains and pulled muscles.
Dozens of people came into the emergency room at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center on Monday afternoon with a variety of maladies and the same story: They fell on slippery surfaces.
We have definitely been seeing a lot of falls, lots of extremity injuries because of those falls, Dr. Jessica Wasielewski said Tuesday. Most of them have been ... injuries like sprains and strains, but weve had our share of broken bones, too.
Plus a handful of concussions for people whose heads took the worst of their falls.
Its the same everywhere. From city sidewalks to business steps to store parking lots, the stories are about people who needed stitches or casts after icy surfaces got the better of them.
More than 100 people checked into the emergency room at St. Lukes Meridian Medical Center over the past week for treatment of such injuries. Thats about 10 percent of all visits to one of the busiest ERs in the state.
Weve never had anything like that before 10 percent is a huge number for those types of injuries, spokesman Ken Dey said Tuesday. And (Monday) was probably our busiest day.
The St. Lukes Downtown Boise ER had dozens over the same period, Dey said.
Most of the injuries treated at St. Lukes were scrapes and sprains, with a few head injuries and broken bones, Dey said.
ITS ICY ... WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Wasielewski said its kind of hard to prevent such injuries, but paying close attention to your surroundings is the best way.
Wear good shoes and walk slowly, she said.
Light snow fell all day Monday across the Treasure Valley, creating newly slick streets, sidewalks and parking lots and covering up slick spots that already existed.
Even before the big overnight dump, the National Weather Service measured a half-inch of snow by 5 p.m. Monday at the Boise Airport. The high temperature reached 33 on Monday and 39 on Tuesday, so snow melted off the main streets, but some sidewalks and steps were another matter.
And each night, the freeze comes again, turning slush to ice.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER
Meridian schools spokesman Eric Exline said he has to take his daughter to an orthopedist to see whether she broke her elbow after falling in the Mountain View High School parking lot Monday afternoon.
Exline knows the feeling. He slipped in the same parking lot five years ago and hit his head, suffering a brain injury. He was out of work for six weeks and still cant smell very well.
I learned a lesson that day. Dont walk (on a slippery parking lot) with your hands in your pockets, Exline said.
BIG JOB FOR SCHOOLS
Both Exline and Boise schools spokesman Dan Hollar say employees for the districts do the best they can to clear off sidewalks and high-traffic areas before school starts on snowy days, but they cant get to every area. The Statesman heard several tales of falls on Boise school sidewalks.
The Boise district has five snowplows to clear parking lots, and school employees are responsible for the sidewalks to the buildings.
The Meridian district doesnt have plows. It hires a contractor to clear school lots when theres at least 4 inches of snow, and that costs the district $30,000. That doesnt take care of the snow that falls during the day or account for the work that school employees do around the buildings.
What school officials try to do is concentrate on high-traffic areas, entrances and the locations where kids get on and off buses, the districts spokesmen said.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219, Twitter: @IDS_Orr