Tag Archives: Lexington Medical Center emergency department

The Medical Dangers of Floodwater

The eastern parts of South Carolina and our neighbors in North Carolina continue to face severe threats from floodwater this week in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Photo Courtesy: WSB

“Whenever you have floodwater, you need to be concerned about contamination,” said Todd Crump, MD, of Lexington Medical Center’s Emergency department. “It’s never safe to wade through floodwater unless it’s an emergency situation.”

Floodwater can contain raw sewage, animal waste, bacteria, parasites, gasoline and viruses.

Dr. Crump helped with response to Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana in 2005. There, he treated many patients with problems brought about by walking in floodwater.

“You can’t see what you’re walking through,” he said. “It can be easy to cut your foot or leg.”

Those problems included seriously infected wounds in people who had waded in floodwater, as well as pelvic infections in women.

For first responders and other people who have no choice but to be in floodwater, they should shower afterward with antibacterial soap and treat any wounds with an appropriate first-aid kit and bandages. Hand sanitizer can help to clean a wound if no other solutions are available.

Otherwise, steer clear of floodwater.

Addressing Suicide

Two celebrity suicides occurred this month – fashion designer Kate Spade and TV personality and chef Anthony Bourdain. These tragic deaths have brought public attention to mental health issues, a topic addressed every day in the Lexington Medical Center Emergency department.

Daniel L. Avosso, MD, medical director of Lexington Medical Center’s ER, says his staff sees five to 10 patients daily with mental health concerns. In addition, clinicians screen each patient in the ER for mental health issues.

“Whether a patient comes in for a toothache or a heart attack, we will ask if they are considering harming themselves,” Dr. Avosso said.

If patients share they are considering self harm, social workers and clinicians perform further screenings.

According to Dr. Avosso, most individuals considering suicide will show warning signs such as:
-Changes in sleep patterns.
-Changes in diet.
-Increased alcohol consumption.
-Personality changes.
-Increased feelings of hopelessness.

There are also factors that put individuals at a higher risk of becoming suicidal. Risk factors include:
-Chronic pain.
-Mental health conditions such as PTSD or bipolar disorder.
-Previous suicide attempts.

Dr. Daniel Avosso

If you have concerns about a friend or family member, it’s important to address the issue.

“If you are worried about someone in your life, one of the most important things to do is ask them if they are considering harming themselves,” Dr. Avosso said. “It’s a tough conversation to have, but we have that conversation with every one of our patients. It’s worth it to be aware of the problem now.”

He also urges anyone considering suicide to contact a mental health professional.

“It is always okay to ask for help,” he said.

If you are considering taking your own life or are worried about a loved one, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.