HEADS of Emergency Departments of the main hospitals in the Balearics warned yesterday that the latest craze of jumping from one hotel balcony to another under the influence of drink and drugs may lead to yet more critical injuries and fatalities.
Maria Alos, Emergency department doctor at Son Dureta Hospital in Palma said that the dare-devil practice, becoming alarmingly common amongst young visitors to the Islands, has increased the pressure on medical staff. She said that a third of patients currently in intensive care are the result of balcony falls. Alos said that leaping into the void or attempting perilous balcony crossings is also an age-related phenomenon. Such feats are undertaken by those who have scant respect for safety and a minimal sense of fear - usually the young, she said.
Maria Angeles Leciñera, head of Emergencies at Can Misses Hospital in Ibiza said that cases of this nature have been happening for years over the summer months.
Meanwhile, in the last year alone, reported the regional Interior ministry, nine people have died in falls from buildings although these figures could include suicide leaps and falls from other parts of an edifice, not necessarily a balcony.
Leciñena explained that crossing from one balcony to another or diving direct from a balcony into a swimming pool is sparked by a certain copy cat element. One person begins it and others follow.
She said the answer to the problem won't be easy and may need to entail commitment from families, awareness programmes devised by the tourist industry, and a supportive contribution from the media.
Leciñena was not optimistic about wiping the practice out completely.