Health and Safety
West Nile and the Hanta virus are the long-shot threats to your health in Tucson and Arizona, and both can be avoided by taking precautions. Use insect repellant to ward off the former (which is spread by mosquitoes) and simply stay away from rodents, which may transmit the latter. Similarly rare are those infamous rattlesnake attacks. Keep an eye on the ground while you’re hiking—if a snake, rattler or otherwise, is in your general vicinity, leave the area; that’s the best way to avoid most snake bites. Also cover your ankles and keep your hands and feet out of dark holes.
To avoid heat stroke and dehydration, very real threats in the summertime desert, stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day; restrict your activity to early mornings and after sunset. Drink lots of water, and never go out into the desert alone or unprepared. Don’t underestimate the heat and its power to drain your resources.
Threats from humans come in all the usual forms. Lock your vehicle wherever you go, even in the most remote locations. Don’t pick up hitchhikers, anywhere. Drug- and people-smuggling, and the violence that usually goes along with such activities, is common in areas along the U.S.-Mexico border in Southern Arizona.
Hospitals and Emergencies
Dial 911 for emergencies anywhere in Southern Arizona.
University Medical Center (1501 N. Campbell Ave., 520/694-0111) is the top hospital in Southern Arizona and has the region’s only Level 1 trauma center, so if you are seriously hurt anywhere in Southern Arizona you are likely to be treated by the capable staff there. It’s located on a sprawling campus across Speedway, at Campbell, from the University of Arizona, and the two are, obviously, connected.
On the eastern edges of midtown, Southern Arizona’s largest health-care facility, Tucson Medical Center (5301 E. Grant, 520/327-5461, www.tmcaz.com), began life as a tuberculosis sanitarium, welcoming TB sufferers from all over the world to the desert’s dry climate. These days TMC is where patients from all over the region, including Sonora, Mexico, will find themselves if they’re having a difficult pregnancy, heart problems, and other serious health issues. Primarily because of its state-of-the-art newborn intensive care unit and extensive cardiac-care resources, TMC is a popular choice for middle- and upper-class Mexican nationals seeking a high level of care.
On the city’s west side, St. Mary’s Hospital (1601 W. St. Mary’s Rd., 520/872-3000, www.carondelet.org) is part of the large Carondelet Network, which also runs the east side’s St. Joseph’s Hospital (350 N. Wilmot Rd., 520/873-3000), and Tucson Heart Hospital (4888 N. Stone Ave., 520/696-2328). St. Mary’s has 402 beds and is more than a century old (it started with only 12 beds). It has a full-service emergency room and a long list of services; St. Joseph’s has 309 beds, an emergency room, and state-of-the-art comprehensive care; and Tucson Heart Hospital is an award-wining facility dedicated exclusively to heart disease.
© Tim Hull from Moon Tucson, 1st Edition