Saint Claus is Coming to Town (…or the ER)

  • Santa Claus is coming to town -- or the ER!

Saint Claus is Coming to Town (…or the ER)

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Santa Claus is coming to town! If you’re like me and still believe in Santa Claus, then this is a special time of the year. However, we usually don’t spend much time thinking about what he must go through each year.  Just imagine all the hazards, regulations, and legal issues he faces. It’s a miracle he actually delivers all those gifts considering what he’s up against.

We all know Santa Claus is overweight and jolly. He’s also getting on in years. So there’s a good chance he has metabolic syndrome with diabetes, heart disease and possibly vascular dementia. Not to mention cavities from drinking Coca Cola and not brushing afterwards.  No matter which town Santa visits, these medical calculators can help docs better assess the risks he faces and hopefully, keep him out of the ER.

The weather is cold at the North Pole so frostbite of exposed skin is always a possibility. With his endless travel through blizzards and areas of poor visibility, and is at risk for cataracts. It’s just a matter of time before he fails his eye exam and has his license revoked.

Saint Nick is at constant threat from wild animals, ranging from his own reindeer to polar bears. Who knows what impact the demand for reindeer to deliver pizzas will have on the transportation costs this year. It’s a wonder he hasn’t collided with an airplane yet, probably thanks to NORAD tracking his flights and alerting air traffic control.

If he makes it to your house, then his troubles are just beginning. He’s at risk for falls while landing or stepping across an icy roof.

Getting down a chimney is no easy matter even for a skinny person. It’s hard to believe he hasn’t gotten stuck at least once. After all of these years of exposure to soot in chimneys he’s probably at risk for testicular cancer. And if the fire is still burning he risks thermal burn and smoke inhalation.

Saint Nick may be a kindly person, but consider his risk of violence–homeowners with guns, trigger-happy hunters, Islamic terrorists, or criminals attempting a sleigh jacking. And what about workplace violence at the North Pole with all of those elves working overtime making presents for good girls and boys?

Considering he has to visit billions of people in a short period of time, burnout could be a real threat. Not to mention being depressed because of the people who say he doesn’t exist. Or companies that use his likeness without permission.

We haven’t even gotten to back pain (from hauling that huge sack of toys), skin cancer, disordered sleep and sleigh lag, deep vein thrombosis or altitude sickness.

So on Christmas Eve think of Santa Claus. And hope that OSHA hasn’t made it to the North Pole.

 


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By | 2016-12-22T15:26:13+00:00 December 21st, 2016|Clinical Practice, Patient Care, Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Svirbely, MD is a founder and Chief Medical Officer of The Medical Algorithms Company and the primary author of its medical algorithms. John is a co-founder of the Medical Algorithms Project and has developed its medical content for nearly 20 years. He has a BA degree from the Johns Hopkins University and his MD from the University of Maryland. He is a board-certified pathologist with a fellowship in medical microbiology and biomedical computing at Ohio State University. Dr. Svirbely recently retired from private practice and resides near Austin, TX. He has authored multiple books and articles on medical algorithms & medical calculators.