Icy sidewalks cause spike in emergency room visits

Icy sidewalks are causing a flood of visits to emergency rooms around Edmonton, as even more complaints are made to the city.

Doctors urge Edmontonians to tread carefully while critics call on city to do more

Emergency room doctors say they are seeing dozens of injuries caused by slips on the icy sidewalks, as complaints flood city hall. 2:05

Icy sidewalks are causing a flood of visits to emergency rooms around Edmonton, as even more complaints are made to the city.

Dr. Sandy Dong, an emergency room doctor at the University of Alberta Hospital, said doctors there have been swamped treating broken bones, cuts and scrapes caused by tumbles on the slippery sidewalks.

Dong said dozens of patients had been treated in the past four days, and that some had to be hospitalized.

This is especially serious for senior citizens, he said.

“And if you do have a fall as a senior, you are much higher risk to developing complications while you're recovering,” said Dong.

Roger Cormier wants to the city to do more to keep sidewalks clear and safe.

“It's treacherous,” he said. “Your footing is not secure – and I think for seniors that is a concern.”

But city officials say they are doing all they can given their budget constraints.

“It's been a very challenging winter already,” said Troy Courtoreille, head of the city's Complaints Investigation Section.

The city has already received more than 4,000 complaints about icy sidewalks this year, and are in the midst of investigating. Homeowners found to be slacking off on sidewalk clearing may get a warning and could face a $100 fine.

In the meantime, doctors are recommending people tread carefully, and consider investing in cleats that will give their shoes more traction on ice.

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