ROCHESTER, Minn. - May is trauma awareness month. More people age 45 and younger die from injury or violence than any other cause of death.
Dr. Katie McKenzie, an Olmsted Medical Center primary care physician, and Dr. Kyle McKenzie of Mayo Clinic's Department of Community Internal Medicine, never expected one of their children to be on the receiving end of care for a serious injury. Dr. Katie McKenzie and their then 3-year-old daughter Evelyn were in a crash in 2019 when another car failed to yield at an intersection. The vehicle struck the rear passenger side, where Evelyn was sitting in her car seat. She wasn't conscious or breathing.
Evelyn was safely secured in her car seat the correct way and didn't have a scratch on her. But the sheer force of the impact injured her brain, spleen, and liver.
"She is now making a remarkable recovery. She had to learn to eat again, to speak again, to sit again and crawl and walk again, and now you can hardly hold her back or slow her down," says Evelyn's mother.
Safety equipment like cycle helmets and properly used car seats can reduce the likelihood of harm to your child. "Motor vehicle crashes are the most common but certainly playground injuries, ATVs, motocross. Going back to May as trauma awareness month, that's when we tend to see bicycle injuries," Dr. Denise Klinkner, chair of Mayo Clinic's Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, lists injury scenarios commonly seen in the trauma center.
One of the most common causes of injury in adults are falls.
Mayo Clinic's Level I Trauma Center has seen a 17% increase in patients during the pandemic. "I'm not certain if that's by coincidence or if it's something that's correlative. We can only hypothesize but we certainly have noticed an increase in the number of injured patients that we're caring for, and we're here to serve," says Dr. Brian Kim.
According to the American Trauma Society, each year, approximately 214,000 people die from unintentional and violence-related injuries.