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Atrium doctors prepare for Fourth of July weekend

Hospitals and urgent care facilities in the Atrium Health system say they are ready for the Fourth of July weekend.

In a virtual press conference Thursday, doctors of spoke of their expectations for what types of injuries they expect.

Dr. Kyle Cunningham, a trauma surgeon, said the holiday weekend usually brings an increased volume of similar cases such as alcohol-related incidents with vehicles.

He said even with a decrease in public events this Fourth due to the COVID-19 pandemic “you try to be prepared for everything all the time. Whatever we have in store we will be prepared to take care of it.”

Dr. Dr. Chris Branner, specialty medical director, Urgent Care Services at Atrium Health, said urgent care centers “prepare the same every day” because workers “don’t know minute by minute what’s going to walk through the door.”

Branner emphasized the importance of social distancing at gatherings because of concerns of the spread of COVID-19 on the backhand after the holidays.

Regarding concerns of going to the hospital with injuries in the time of COVID-19, Branner said Atrium Health has come up with “innovative ways” of social distancing and have worked to promote a safe environment.”

Physicians, Branner said, are concerned about patients with chest pains or injuries delaying getting health care because of virus concerns.

“(It’s an) interesting dichotomy when you see some of the media depictions of what’s going on at bars, beaches and in crowds (and) folks (are) worried about getting exposed in a healthcare environment. It’s really safe. When I go to work, I feel really, really safe,” Branner said.

Dr. Mark Van Poppel, CNSA neurosurgeon and Atrium Health neurotrauma medical director, talked about concerns for neck injuries related to people diving off boats or into pools as well as head and neck injuries with watersports. Helmets should be worn, he said.

Pediatric surgeon Dr. Steven Teich said one of his biggest concerns for the Fourth of July is burns coming from fireworks.

“The thing that scares me is seeing a little kid running around with sparklers,” Teich said.

The temperature of a sparkler can get up to as high as 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, he said.

“Fireworks and kids are a bad combination. People need to be really careful when it comes to fireworks,” Teich said.

Cunningham said fireworks “should be left to professionals.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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