Editorial: injuries claiming Estonian lives

Eluaastaid kaotatakse peamiselt vigastuste ja haiguste tõttu.

PHOTO: SCANPIX

In 2013, we had 147,790 injured people treated by doctors in Estonia. Due to various injuries, 958 perished. A glance at European statistics shows the picture as among the saddest on the continent. Especially so with men.

Obviously, in real life all injuries and deaths cannot be avoided – this, perhaps, might be achieved if all people were closed up in homes, all edged tools confiscated, we’d drink water only and be under 24/7 surveillance. And still some would badly slip and fall etc.

Thankfully, we don’t have a total control and surveillance society like that. Meanwhile, we can in no way be satisfied with deaths due to injury so far above EU average. The statistics point to a chance to cut such deaths by a half, say. We could go for the European average, and to this end we must systematically labour. To begin with, we need to find out the reasons people hurt themselves, and try to instil in all of us a greater measure of caution, clarity of mind, and avoidance of unnecessary risks.

At that, carelessness, stupidities while drunk, or outright neglect need not be systematic. All it takes is that one rare occasion to cross one’s usual boundaries.

We may talk at length about the society, and how bystanders should stop a citizen who has become a threat to himself. Sure, Estonia needs to care more and lend a helping hand. Still, we do have to underline that it’s in our own hands – who could keep babysit all these grown-ups.

Also, Estonians are timid by nature and not apt to mess in other people’s business. The guy staggering at the lake shore may look funny and harmless for the time being. Till he, freshly brave, will try to cross the water body and is afterwards dragged out dead.

Sure, lots of injuries, poisonings and burns would never be if our lives would be less insecure and the social causes behind risk behaviour be alleviated. Because people with fulfilling work and supported by loved ones will not risk just jumping someplace unknown, headlong.

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