Emergency services in Montreal under pressure with spike in injuries from icy conditions

Icy conditions wreak havoc on Montreal pedestrians
WATCH: The mixed bag of weather that Montreal has seen in the last week has made getting around the city difficult for drivers and pedestrians alike. Thursday's rain followed by frigid temperatures on Friday made streets and sidewalks treacherously icy. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines explains, some hospitals have seen an influx of patients who have suffered falls.

In Montreal, work crews raced to mitigate the damage from a series of walloping storms that hit the city but Urgences-santé say the damage is already done.

The first respondents have received a 20 per cent increase in calls over the past week.

Benoit Garneau, chief of operations for Urgences-santé, says they have received 1,200 calls a day in the greater Montreal area.

Many of those are responding to slips and falls, which are causing minor injuries.

“Mostly broken bones, to the upper body, arms, wrist and elbows,” Garneau said.

READ MORE: Icy conditions in Montreal as drop in temp freezes puddles and slush

Most of the injured have been sent to the Montreal General Hospital, where there is an influx of patients.

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In a 24-hour period between Thursday and Friday, the hospital reported 24 fractures — all related to falls.

“That is one every hour,” said emergency physician Sanjeet-Singh Saluja.

A total of 31 injuries has been associated with icy spills and the growing number of patients has put stress on services at the hospital.

“It puts a lot of pressure on the emergency room but it puts a lot of pressure on the operating room as well,” Saluja said.

Young men and older women are the certain few who are more susceptible to injuries, according to Saluja.

READ MORE: Montreal short on workers during rush to clear roads before another freeze

He said young men are more don’t wear the proper gear and while older women are more likely to have brittle bones.

Dr. Saluja suggests to take things slower than usual and to wear crampons if you have them.
Dr. Saluja suggests to take things slower than usual and to wear crampons if you have them. Brayden Jagger Haines

Officials say to err on the side of caution when venturing outside.

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Saluja advises people to “leave your fashion at home” and to wear proper gear. He suggests crampon spikes and to take things slower than usual.

Urgences-santé reminds the public to contact 811 instead of 911 if the injury is not life threatening.