Mobilize Canada

Mobilize Canada

February 14, 2012 14:59 ET

Fractured Hips Can Result in Death If Not Treated Within 48 Hours

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 14, 2012) - It's a situation that many baby boomers are facing: The phone rings and they find out a parent has fallen, forcing them both into a sudden introduction into the often-confusing world of accessing emergency hip fracture surgery. Yet very few people know that hip fractures can be fatal and there is an established timeline for surgery that is often ignored in many hospitals in Canada, according to leading orthopaedic surgeons in their National Hip Fracture Toolkit released last year.

This best practices report emphasizes the vital importance of getting the necessary surgery within 48 hours of the injury and the appropriate care afterwards. If a patient is forced to wait any longer for surgery, the health outcomes become considerably worse, leading to increased complications and chances of death, says Dr. James Waddell, an orthopaedic surgeon at St. Michael's Hospital and professor at the University of Toronto, as well as the toolkit's project lead and editor.

But what happens to many patients with fractured hips is that they get stuck in hospital waiting for surgery as seemingly more urgent cases get priority. "Hip fractures tended to be bumped down the list because they are lying quietly in bed without looking like there is any urgency about them - compare that to a bleeding patient brought in by paramedics - but we know that the longer the delay, the more likely they are to die and to have other major complications," says Dr. Hans Kreder, head of the orthopaedic division and program chief of the Holland musculoskeletal program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. There is also evidence suggesting that elderly patients, over the age of 80, require surgery within 24 hours if they are to avoid fatal outcomes.

Canadian hospitals are in the process of implementing these new national hip fracture guidelines developed by Bone and Joint Decade Canada in strategic partnership with The Canadian Orthopaedic Care Strategy Group (COCSG), Health Canada and other expert agencies, but it may take some time, says Dr. Waddell. Armed with the knowledge that best practices exist in hip fracture surgery, families of patients should now be able to advocate on behalf of the patient, who is often in shock and unable to make clear-headed decisions. It is your right to insist that surgery takes place within 48 hours to meet the toolkit's guidelines. Your parent's life may depend upon it. Full article available at:

About Mobilize Canada

Mobilize Canada is the national communications hub of the Canadian Orthopaedic Care Strategy Group. It informs the 45-plus age group about Canada's mobility crisis while offering practical solutions to maintain mobility and motivate healthy changes. The goal is to improve the quality of life as Canadians age while making the most efficient and beneficial use of our healthcare system.

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    Sara Rafuse
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