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Emergency Room Visits Grow for Texting-and-Walking Injuries

JOPLIN, Mo. -- We've all heard about the dangers of texting and driving, but a growing number of patients are hitting the emergency room with injuries from typing that message while on foot.
JOPLIN, Mo. -- We've all heard about the dangers of texting and driving, but a growing number of patients are hitting the emergency room with injuries from typing that message while on foot.

One report estimates that 6,100 emergency room patients were injured while texting and walking last year. And while not every case is life threatening, the problem is growing.

"I was in the middle of finishing my sentence on the text, and just misjudged and went right into it. Walked right into the wall," said Julia Narrell, Joplin Resident.

While walking into a wall is more embarrassing than deadly, the risks of texting and walking don't stop there.

"We've had patients come in who've fallen down stairs. They've stepped off curbs when they've been walking because they haven't been watching. They sustained fractures. We've had a few people who've walked out in front of moving traffic and been injured," said Leslie Allen, Freeman E.D. Charge Nurse.

What Freeman Emergency Department Charge Nurse Leslie Allen has seen in Joplin has been repeated at hospitals across the country. A Washington doctor estimates 15 percent of pedestrians treated in E.R.'s were injured while texting and walking. A number that could potentially be higher.

"People are frequently reluctant to tell us how they sustained their injuries. They know they're totally at fault, they're embarrassed that they've been injured that way," said Allen.

Allen adds that it's better just to stop when you need to text, and that it's important to your kids do too.

"Those things are funny to watch on Youtube. Not so funny when you're the victim and not so funny when you see how badly someone can be injured as a result," said Allen.

It can be an easy habit to fall into, but still it's just better to just stop and read or write those texts.


(courtesy KODE, Joplin)
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