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Broken hips can be lethal for senior citizens

Have you ever seen a young child take a tumble while walking, running or riding a bike? Almost to a one, they are able to spring back up with only a couple of skinned knees to indicate they ever fell.

But that is definitely not the case when older people trip, stumble and fall down. Wrenched ankles, torn ACLs and broken wrists are often the result of these trip-and-fall injuries. But by far, one of the most deadly consequences of falling for senior citizens is the dreaded broken hip.

What makes fractured hips so dangerous?

There are plenty of good reasons why senior citizens are cautioned to avoid breaking a hip once they hit their golden years. Formerly independent seniors in their 60s, 70s and 80s can face a life-altering loss of independence after breaking their hips. In fact, hip fractures are major contributing factors to the elderly having to move out of their own homes and into residential care facilities.

But the risk is far greater than just worrying about a loss of independence. For senior citizens who are not candidates for surgical repair of their broken hips for other medical reasons, their one-year mortality rate hovers around 70%. Those who are "lucky" enough to have the breaks repaired surgically still face 21% mortality rates over the next year.

What leads to death after hip fractures?

In 2011, the Journal of the American Medical Association (Internal Medicine) published the research findings of a 20-year Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF) focused on 5,580 older females. They learned that most of the women succumbed to either pneumonia or cognitive disorders (or a combination thereof).

Other complications that can lead to death include:

  • Post-surgical infections
  • Pulmonary embolisms
  • Dementia
  • Heart failure
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Cardiovascular disease

Economic burden of repairing hip fractures

In a single year, approximately 300,000 individuals fracture their hips. Economically, it costs nations like the United States and Canada upwards of $650 million to treat these injuries.

If you fall in a store, restaurant or on any other person's property due to their negligence, it's very important to learn your rights under New Jersey law to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other associated damages.

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