Don't go chasing waterfalls, spinal injury surge at Cedar Ck
A CEDAR Creek Falls trip is a great way to spend a hot and humid day, but not when it ends in serious injury or even death.
Last week three people were admitted and treated at Proserpine Hospital after presenting with spinal injuries.
Two individuals presented to the Proserpine emergency department on Sunday with musculoskeletal injuries as a result of jumping from the fall's ledge.
On Wednesday April 11, a male backpacker visited the ED and was diagnosed with a spinal fracture, after jumping off the falls at the previous weekend.
As a result the young male was admitted and discharged in a spinal mobility brace.
Senior Medical Officer Dr Hannah Trimble said that jumping off the falls is far too risky and can leave people with life-long injuries.
"If you wouldn't jump 10 metres onto concrete don't jump into the falls,” Dr Trimble said.
"The surface tension of the water means you are landing on a hard surface.”
Dr Trimble has worked in the Whitsundays since 2009 and said she's seen far too many injuries as a result of jumping from the falls, despite the warning signs posted around the area.
"Most of the injuries were compression fractures caused by the impact of hitting the water,” she said.
"Often people with compression injuries walk out of the water so other people swimming don't realise people are being injured. It's only when the pain sets in and they walk into Emergency they discover they have a serious injury.”
Other injuries from jumping include damage to the perineal area.
"We've also seen people with very serious injuries caused by hitting rocks on the way down because they haven't jumped out far enough as well as from hitting submerged rocks,” Dr Trimble said.
In 2008 two former JCU medical students recognised the immense danger that comes with the thrill of jumping from the falls and launched a preventative campaign.
Between 2005 and 2009 one person died and at least eight individuals had been significantly injured as a result of jumping off Cedar Creek Falls.
Doctors in the area stress that region can be enjoyed safely and remind people to take care at places like Cedar Creek Falls and that engaging in dangerous activity won't add to your experience especially if it ends in serious injury.
Incidents between 2006 and 2009 include:
- January 30, 2006 Proserpine man Wayne Butterworth, 37, died after diving from the falls.
- February 6, 2005 a woman was admitted to Proserpine Hospital after jumping feet first.
- March 25, 2006 a 25-year-old Proserpine man suffered spinal injuries after jumping feet first.
- January 27, 2008 an 18-year-old woman was injured after jumping.
- January 17, 2008 a 16-year-old girl was admitted to hospital overnight after suffering extensive bruising to her back in a jump.
- February 29, 2008 a man suffered spinal injuries after jumping backwards and somersaulting into the water.
- October 26, 2008 a woman suffered spinal injuries and was transferred to Townsville Hospital after jumping.
- January 4, 2009 a woman was admitted to hospital overnight after suffering spinal injuries from a jump.
- January 15, 2009, an 18-year-old woman was admitted to Mackay Base Hospital, and then transferred to Townsville Hospital with head and spinal injuries after falling 30 metres down the waterfall.