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Dr. Keizer backs ‘buckle up’ policy

Dr. Keizer backs ‘buckle up’ policy

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The Acting Medical Director at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital is calling on Vincentians to begin practicing road safety, especially as it regards the soon to become seatbelts and helmet regulations.

Dr. Simone Keizer who is also the Senior Registrar in Charge of the Emergency Department, made it clear that the perceived inconvenience of buckling up cannot be compared to the potential life-threatening damage that one can suffer when such safety requirements are not adhered to.{{more}}

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT, Dr. Keizer said that during her 13 years in the practice of Emergency Medicine she has seen countless times where the wearing of seat belts and helmets have prevented tragic injuries and vice versa, where not-so tragic accidents left persons in an horrific state… with injuries that could have been prevented with the use of protective devices like seat belts. “We are actually so far behind,” declared Dr. Keizer commenting on the passing of this new legislation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The importance of seat belts and helmets, according to Dr. Keizer has been proven for “many, many years”.

According to the recently passed legislation heavy fines, in some cases up to $5,000 are to be meted out to persons who fail to wear seat belts, or helmets and use the proper protective devices when carrying children in vehicles.

Describing the law as “very important”, Dr. Keizer told SEARCHLIGHT that people must note that even a head-on crash at 30 miles-per-hour can cause lethal injuries to passengers as the vehicle comes to a sudden halt while the body continues to travel forward.

Explaining the difference that seat belts can make, Dr. Keizer said that it could mean the difference between someone suffering a chest trauma compared to a simple bruising of the chest wall.

Although admitting that there are occasions when a seat belt may very well trap someone in a vehicle causing them to be pinned, Dr. Keizer is adamant that such injuries are by far in the minority, and it is the throwing forward of the body that causes the most devastation in accidents. She hinted that even in our winding, hilly roads, where the danger of vehicles going off banks are possible, a person being thrown from a rolling vehicle can be damaged more severely in most cases than someone buckled into such a vehicle. There are, however, always exceptions to the rules, she indicated.

Dr. Keizer stressed that she is particularly concerned about what she described as “our young productive men” who from her experience seem to be the prime victims of serious vehicular accidents. She lamented that such men are left helpless and unable to support their families and fulfill their wide range of potential in life, and is, therefore, pleading with them, and all, to follow the regulations, not only because it is the law, but for their own safety.

The Accident and Emergency Department of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital has been involved in the Medical Association’s “Buckle Up” Road Safety Feature that ran last year, and Dr. Keizer assured SEARCHLIGHT that such promotions will be done on an ongoing basis by the department.

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