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Thumbs up: Accident-prone Alcoholics

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The depressing and ironic underbelly of the holiday legacy is our tendency to get hammered - both in celebration and in self-medication as we embrace the at-times overwhelming company of family and friends. Wishard Hospital, which treats more than 2,500 trauma cases per year, reminds us: "Alcohol-related accidents account for nearly half of all U.S. trauma deaths and nonfatal injuries ... over 3 million individuals are hospitalized, 37 million seek emergency treatment, and 60 million seek medical attention ... as a result of an accident. ... nearly 11,000 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes — 32 percent of all U.S. traffic-related deaths in '09 ... in 2008, Mothers Against Drunk Driving reported that, in Indiana, 26 percent of traffic crashes with fatalities involved alcohol." Dr. Gerardo Gomez, chief of the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgical Services at Wishard and director of the IU/Wishard Level I Trauma Center called such accidents and injuries "predictable" and "preventable." So, in the spirit of clean living, we offer the following survival technique for when you want to enjoy the party, but want to avoid alcohol's devilish grasp: the cranberry spritzer — soda water, topped with cranberry juice and a lime. Salut!

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