Two things determine our deaths from unintentional injury. How well do we prevent the injury? And how well do we save lives once the injury has occurred? We are fortunate to have a Level 1 trauma center in Gainesville, opened in 2009, which provides life saving expertise. But preventing the injury is vital, because some survivors of unintentional injury have long lasting disabilities which prevent their return to full productivity. “Unintentional Injury” deaths include deaths due to drowning, falls, fires or burns, transportation-related injuries, poisoning, and suffocation.
This graph shows the rate of death per 100,000 population by unintentional injury in Alachua County, compared to the state of Florida, and the United States. Although Alachua County has made progress in reducing unintentional injury related death since 2007, there is still work to do. The presence of a Level 1 Trauma Center improves the likelihood of survival of injured residents of the county, but are we doing all we can to prevent accidental injuries? A closer look at the subcategories of injury may assist with future planning to address unintentional injury. For example, if Alachua County has a disproportionate death rate due to accidental poisoning, health education in schools may address risks of drug use. If motor vehicle accidents or bicycle accidents represent a disproportionate share of unintentional injury deaths, we could address drinking and driving and bicycle safety in our driver education and helmet programs.