99-Year-Old Evelyn Vernon Survives 22 Hours Trapped in Her Bathtub
The 99-year-old Salt Lake City resident fell in her 20-inch by 20-inch walk-in tub when she was reaching down to remove a washcloth that was preventing water from draining properly. She could not escape because her body prevented the inward-swinging door from opening and because she had forgotten to keep her medical alert device nearby.
A series of unanswered phone calls led Vernon's family members to find her in the bathroom, after which paramedics removed her using a makeshift sling and brought her to the hospital, where she received treatment for neck pain and tears in her skin.
Vernon believes that reciting poetry and reminiscing about previous world travels was responsible for her survival. "If I hadn't known lots of beautiful poetry, I couldn't have made it," she told the source. "I don't want anyone else to go through what I've gone through."
"It's not something you hear about. Too few people realize the risk," Peter Herbertson, outreach director of Salt Lake County Aging Services, said of the dangers of falls for the elderly.
Vernon is reportedly looking forward to returning home and continuing her independent lifestyle. She will celebrate her 100th birthday next summer with a cruise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every three adults over the age of 65 will fall every year. Emergency rooms treated approximately 2.2 million non-fatal fall-related injuries in elderly patients in 2009.
People hoping to avoid falls can exercise regularly, discuss potential side effects of medications with their doctors, have their eyes checked and reduce the number of tripping hazards in their homes.
Those who wish to help prevent falls can contribute to the CDC Foundation and the MetLife Foundation, which help fund education for older adults about the risks of falling.