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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds My name’s Steve Parry, I’m 52 years old, and I’m a hospital specialist with an interest in falls and blackouts. My fall happened in the wintertime in the dark. I get up very early in the morning to walk the dog, and not to disturb the rest of the family, tend to get dressed downstairs. So there I was at the top of our stairs with my sweat pants, which the pants leg unfortunately dropped down. More unfortunately, I skidded on the trouser pant leg and fell down the stairs.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds As I fell down the stairs, my hand got caught in our bannister, so my full weight was dangling happily from the hand, and with the twisting motion I managed to break one of the small bones in the hand. I ended up with a plaster that was full length from fingertips to elbow for a couple of weeks, followed by another one for another six weeks, which had quite a large impact on my work, as of course not being able to touch patients meant that it was extremely difficult to perform my duties. More unsettling was the feeling of concern that I had about going downstairs, and that was something that I just hadn’t expected. I’m a very fit, active 52-year-old.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 seconds I do quite a lot of sports, and I walk extensively with the dog. And all of a sudden I’d be standing at the top of our stairs thinking, hmm, I’ve got to be pretty careful here, and quite hesitantly going downstairs in a way that this had never happened to me before. This was an incredible eye-opener. And my work is with people who fall. I come across the phenomenon of fear of falling, which is concerns about falling, worries about mobility, and all of a sudden here I was experiencing what my patients were going through.

Skip to 2 minutes and 13 seconds The old phrase what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I think certainly applies here, and I certainly have a much better understanding of my patients’ difficulties, and I think that’s helped immeasurably in empathising with those I’m trying to treat and help.

Steve Parry

Dr Steve Parry is a Consultant Physician with special interest in falls and blackouts.

To hear his story watch this short video.

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Ageing Well: Why Older People Fall

Newcastle University

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