SFGH Trauma Surgeon Works to Prevent Injuries in San Francisco
UCSF News reports on the research of Dr. Rochelle Dicker and her team into pedestrian accident injury in San Francisco:
San Francisco General Hospital trauma surgeon Rochelle Dicker has treated many pedestrians who ended up in the emergency room after being struck by vehicles. She never refers to those collisions as accidents.
“An accident implies there is nothing we can do about it. Like it’s an act of God. But an injury or crash implies that there is something we can do to potentially reduce risk and prevent harm,” said Dicker, MD, one of the directors of the San Francisco Injury Center and associate professor of surgery and anesthesia at UCSF.
Dicker has done a lot. She and her four-person research team conducted an unprecedented analysis of the direct medical costs of auto-versus-pedestrian encounters in San Francisco. They also looked at where the incidents occurred, so that they could identify “high cost areas and high injury morbidity areas, or hot spots” and work with city officials to consider countermeasures that could save lives and money.
“The rate of pedestrian injury we see in San Francisco is just horrendous,” Dicker said. “It’s one of the highest in the country. I deal with it whenever I’m on call as a trauma surgeon. As a prevention researcher, I have an opportunity to take my experiences and try to address the root of the problems. I wanted to figure out a way to get attention to pedestrian safety and hopefully affect policy.”
The study, titled “Cost-Driver Injury Prevention: Creating an Innovative Plan to Save Lives with Limited Resources,” was published in the Journal of Trauma in April. Some of its ripple effects were felt even before the publication date, thanks to presentation of the data to city officials by Director of Prevention Dahianna Lopez, RN, MSN, MPH, and are likely to influence how San Francisco treats pedestrian safety for years to come. Lopez was honored for her work with the Chancellor's Award for Public Service in May.