Emergency departments prepare for Thanksgiving

SALT LAKE CITY — Emergency departments are getting ready for their busiest day of the year - Thanksgiving. Doctors see a lot of patients for a lot of different reasons. Cuts and burns are to be expected, but what about overeating?

“Thanksgiving and the day after will be one of the busiest days of the year,” said Christian Neff, an Emergency Physician at Intermountain Medical Center.

Emergency departments are uniquely equipped for Thanksgiving. From carving catastrophes to turkey bowl troubles, the injuries start early.

“In the morning, we will see folks coming in with musculoskeletal injuries from turkey bowls,” Neff said.

But the danger doesn't end when dinner is served.

“It will be particularly busy as folks are suffering some of the consequences of eating too much,” Neff said.

That's right. Overeating. Severe heart burn leads people to believe something more serious is going on, but the simple response from doctors is: you ate too much.

“We see lots of [gastrointestinal] complaints on Thanksgiving,” Neff said.

For others, it's not how much they ate but what they ate.

“We see things like chicken bones kind of lodged in people’s throats or even [...] too big of a bite that doesn't pass,” Neff said.

While it might be best to skip that second piece of pie, doctors say if something isn't right, it's better to be safe than sorry.

“We will be fully staffed and expecting the crowd, hoping everyone stays well but expecting our volumes to be high,” Neff said.

The most serious Thanksgiving injuries, however, involve heavy drinking and car crashes. If you want to enjoy alcohol on Thanksgiving, please do so responsibly.