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HealthZette

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized After Fracturing Three Ribs

She fell in her office on Wednesday night — and traveled to George Washington University Hospital early on Thursday morning

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 85, took a severe spill at her Supreme Court office, resulting in three fractured ribs.

The court says that she fell Wednesday evening and went to George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., early on Thursday morning — after a painful night.

This isn’t the justice’s first rodeo, so to speak.

She broke two ribs after a fall in 2012.

In the medical exercise and post-rehab world, health professionals take these types of falls and injuries very seriously.

When doctors and others begin to see a fall pattern or even the hint of a trend in older adults, they must carefully evaluate these individuals’ balance and dietary habits — including calcium and protein intake — and perform a safety assessment in their office and home.

Rib fractures are one of the most painful injuries, as there’s no magic fix except for rest.

Every movement is excruciatingly painful.

For the time being, Ginsburg needs to rest and be sure her dietary and supplemental intake are more than adequate for frail and fractured bones. Her physicians could place her on a bone stimulator to quicken the healing process.

Ginsburg, born in New York City, is the court’s oldest member, and there’s been recent talk about her retirement, despite her affirmation that she will not be retiring until she’s 90 years old. Then-President Bill Clinton nominated her to the high court; she took the oath of office on August 10, 1993.

Once the justice can move with less pain, her team of doctors will need to provide a plan for re-engaging in activity.

The process will be slow.

A full body bone scan to evaluate the integrity of her bones will likely be performed. Adaptations to her existing activities and exercise program will also be modified.

While scores of Americans love this woman for her character, her stubbornness and her views (among other things), being stubborn during these types of injuries can do more harm than good — and potentially even cause a re-injury.

To recap, all of her environments need to be evaluated for safety and hazards. This can be one of the most challenging processes for a patient because removing any beautiful area rugs (known fall risks!), along with other items that are dear to a patient, can be upsetting.

Finally, another measure is to evaluate whether or not the justice needs a cane or a walker for the short term or long term.

People view these tools very negatively and as a crimp on their style.

In helping people recover from injury, health and wellness professionals recommend a cane or walker as a tool to reestablish gait, balance, and safety. But there’s no guarantee the patient will need to use them for the long term.

And check out this video:

Based in Boynton Beach, Florida, Christine King is founder and CEO of Your Best Fit, a health and wellness company that provides fitness, nutrition, and design and management services