SERIOUS IMPACT: Dr Daniel Bitmead has seen many devastating injuries after crashes and is urging people to drive safely.
SERIOUS IMPACT: Dr Daniel Bitmead has seen many devastating injuries after crashes and is urging people to drive safely.

Sad cases take their toll

THESE are the statistics that should put every Ipswich driver on notice - 114 lives lost and 13,201 people injured on our roads.

The Ipswich City Council area's road toll for 2001-2013 - revealed during an APN analysis of Queensland Government traffic data - is shocking.

Dr Daniel Bitmead and his Ipswich hospital colleagues wish every day was free from road deaths and injuries.

"Anyone who works in emergency medicine or emergency services do see their share of car accidents and motor vehicle accidents," the director of emergency medicine said.

"It's a good proportion of what we see both here in Ipswich and in the other areas where I've worked."

Dr Bitmead said fixing wounds and broken bones was often easier than helping relatives through the crisis.

"We're well trained in terms of managing the patient in front of us, but sometimes the hardest thing - particularly when someone is seriously injured - is talking to the family or the loved ones who come in to be with the patients," he said.

"You do see devastating injuries like spinal injuries or loss of life, which you know is going to change that whole family's life - everything can change in a heartbeat."

In-depth emotional training helps doctors and nurses cope but sometimes a case comes along that reverberates long after they have left work.

"We do our work, what we're trained to do; and as much as possible you don't give the emotional impact it's having on you a lot of thought," Dr Bitmead said.

"But there certainly are cases that we see that do stay with us.

"They stay in our memories - it's certainly something that we often think about after the fact - especially the very sad cases."

Dr Bitmead urged drivers to heed warnings about speed and other risk factors.

"I'd definitely make the point that most of the people we see in the ER department after an accident - it's not part of their day, they certainly did not plan to come and pay us a visit," he said.

"People need to be mindful all the time of driving safely, managing fatigue, not driving and texting - just be mindful of road safety practices."



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