Police in Jacksonville, Florida are currently investigating a strange incident that occurred at the University of North Florida yesterday. Apparently, an unnamed person fell from a building that was under construction on the campus.
When we hear of a traumatic fall at a university – particularly on a Saturday – our minds typically go straight to collegiate late-night drinking, partying, and poor judgment. It’s no secret: many college students have become trauma patients simply by mixing heights and alcohol. However, this incident wasn’t the result of late-night construction site exploration. The mysterious fall happened in the middle of a rather bright, beautiful day in Jacksonville; the sun still ascending in the East.
As reported by the the Florida Times-Union, a Jacksonville paper, it was just before 11 in the morning when local fire rescue workers received the call that a man had fallen on the construction site.
First responders found a man on the ground who had been seriously injured by a fall from an unknown height. Paramedics arrived on the scene and used their training to stabilize the victim. After the patient was stabilized, they called in a Florida air ambulance to transport him to a Jacksonville-area hospital.
Neither the name nor age of the man who fell from the site has been given. It remains unknown at this point whether the fall victim was a construction worker or a student. Furthermore, it is unknown exactly how far the man fell – or what caused it in the first place.
The Jacksonville fire chief noted that while he was unsure how far the victim had actually fallen, the resultant injuries were extensive. He pointed out that it had to have been a significant fall for the paramedics to call in the air ambulance.
Indeed, the man likely experienced traumatic injuries for the paramedics to make the decision to transport the patient by air ambulance. Falls from construction sites are responsible for the creation of many trauma patients each year; their hazardous “open” heights are a natural magnet for serious, often fatal injuries.
To put the fall into perspective, an average person who falls from as little as 6 or 7 feet is likely to sustain serious injury. A single story of a building typically ranges from 9-15 feet, depending on the type of structure. Institutional structures such as university buildings, including residential dorms, tend to have higher stories than residential buildings. Therefore, an accidental fall from as little as one or two stories high can be well above the threshold for serious injury.
According to a report from the University of Florida (UF, not to be confused with UNF), over 60 percent of elevated, high-severity falls come from less than 10 feet. Victims of falls from any height may sustain serious back, neck, and cranial injuries that necessitate air medical transport.
Police at the University of North Florida were hesitant to reveal any information about the event, but did confirm that a man had indeed fallen. At this point, the Jacksonville Florida Sheriff’s Office has no other information regarding the incident.
We at the Air Ambulance Weekly blog wish the victim of the fall a rapid and painless recovery from his injuries.