Tree Stand-Related Injuries in Nonadmitted and Admitted Patients at a Level 2 Trauma Center in Michigan: 2015-2019

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Wilderness & environmental medicine


INTRODUCTION: Tree stand-related injuries (TSRI) are more common than firearm-related injuries in hunters. Most previous studies on the topic used trauma databases that only include admitted patients. This study characterizes injury patterns found in nonadmitted and admitted TSRI patients presenting to a level 2 Michigan trauma center. TSRI prevention interventions are also discussed.

METHODS: Cases were obtained through a retrospective chart review of the Henry Ford Allegiance Health trauma registry and EPSi cost-accounting database from 2015 to 2019. Keywords searched included fall, hunter, tree, tree stand, treestand, ICD 9 diagnosis (E884.9_Other accidental fall from one level to another), and ICD 10 diagnosis (W14.XXXA_Fall from tree, initial encounter). We analyzed age, sex, body mass index, injury severity score, disposition, alcohol use, injuries sustained, reported height of fall, and narrative of fall.

RESULTS: Thirty-three patients were identified. Patient age was 45±13 y (mean±SD). All patients were male. Injury severity score for nonadmitted patients was 2±1 vs 13±11 in admitted patients. Thirty-three percent of cases were nonadmitted; 67% were admitted. The most common injuries sustained were spinal (33%) and lower extremity fractures (15%). The average yearly TSRI case rate was 5.73 per 10,000 hunters in the study area.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study found that spinal and lower extremity fractures were the most common injuries sustained. One-third of our patients were nonadmitted and therefore not included in the Henry Ford Allegiance Health trauma registry. Some nonadmitted patients had significant injuries requiring specialist consultation, orthopedic braces, or outpatient surgery.

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ePub ahead of print