A SPANISH doctor has been recognised for his work to reduce the number of deaths by balconing in the Balearic Islands.
Over the past five years, Sevilla born Doctor Juan Jose Segura, who works in Mallorca’s Son Espases hospital as a trauma surgeon, has worked tirelessly alongside the UK government to ensure the safety of young British nationals while on holiday in the Balearics.
When arriving from his hometown of Seville to the island in 2014, Dr. Segura was bewildered by the number of those critically injured from jumping from hotel balconies.
“It felt like something completely endemic to the Balearic Islands,” explained Dr. Segura to the Olive Press.
With little research or investigation into the matter, Dr. Segura decided to offer his help to British consulates in both Ibiza and Mallorca which became the start of an extremely fruitful collaboration with the UK government to prevent these accidents.
“When I arrived in Palma in 2014, I discovered that especially during the summer, there were many seriously injured by falling from a balcony.”
Dr. Segura and his team decided to collect data for a study to put a stop to this Balearic phenomenon, where they wanted to establish patterns of behaviours and create guidelines for action.
The data, collected between 2011 and 2016, showed that balconing is usually carried out by young men, where only one of the 46 cases registered was a woman.
“These types of falls almost always affect young people where the average age is just 24-years-old,” noted the surgeon.
Alcohol is also the precipitating factor, where in 95% of cases, it is present in the system and in 37% drugs also are involved.
The study also showed that a Briton is eight times more likely to be involved than a German national.
“Young people from the UK and Ireland generally have a much more exacerbated alcohol consumption than the rest of Europe which plays a major part in these deaths or injuries.”
One of his most surprising conclusions was however that most did not jump voluntarily with 86% of those treated in Son Espases falling accidentally by trying to pass from one balcony to another from an average height of eight meters.
His critical research led to inspiring the government’s Travelware ‘Stick with your mates’ campaign which has already helped reduce deaths by 50% and reduced the number of serious falls by 61% (compared to 2018 figures).
The campaign was so successful that it was launched again this year to focus on the 2021 holiday season.
Importantly, Dr. Segura now works alongside local and regional authorities to influence changes in the law, such as restrictions on alcohol availability and increased police presence on the streets.
As a result of his important work, the doctor was awarded a prestigious MBE by the Queen in recognition of his services to British visitors in Spain.
For more information visit travelaware.campaign.gov.uk
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