An auto accident, even when not fatal, is a very traumatic incident for the victims and their family members. Along with the physical trauma, there is a lot of mental distress that one goes through after an auto accident. In major accidents, people have often walked out unharmed, while some minor accidents have caused unexpected fatal injuries. What accident will end what way can never be predicted. Thus, it is often best to take all precautions while driving.
The injuries suffered by the victims depend on various factors like the circumstances of the accident, the positions of the passengers, whether seat belts were worn or not, the type of collision, the intensity of the accident etc.
In an accident, the victims commonly suffer from cuts and scrapes due to broken glass, or when hit by other smaller objects in the car which are thrown around due to the impact of the accident. These are relatively minor injuries, but there are certain other major orthopedic injuries which are common and should be watched for before they start giving serious trouble.
- Brain and Head Injuries
One of the most common injuries is that to the head or the brain. These can range from a mild scar, bruise, or concussion to a skull fracture or internal brain injury. At times, there is no external physical sign of trauma to the head but the impact of the accident jostles the brain and can cause bleeding. A severe brain injury can lead to severe physical damage. A permanent disability, nerve damage or vision loss or hearing loss can occur depending on the part of the brain which is injured.
- Chest, neck and back Injuries
After a car accident, upper body injuries involving the chest, neck or back are common. These are especially noted in the front seat passengers. In milder forms, these can lead to neck strain or whiplash injury, chest bruises or contusions, back strain or sprain. Injuries can restrict movement causing chronic pain that significantly reduces the quality of life. The graver form of injuries include cervical bones and disc injury, rib fractures, spine fractures, spinal disc injuries, shoulder dislocation, collar bone fractures, paralysis due to spinal cord injury. Some of these can hamper your life forever and restrict everyday movement if not treated immediately.
- Extremities and joint Injuries
Accidents can cause impact or crush injuries of the extremities and joints of the body. Injuries like these can range from mere bruises to sprains or severe ligament tears and fractures. These injuries include torn menisci of the knee, ankle sprains, tendoachilles injuries, fractures of the bones of the arms & legs, shoulder or hip dislocation or fractures, etc.
- Psychological Injuries
Invisible injuries are the psychological ones such as emotional distress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which get detected late, especially following serious accidents involving severe injuries or loss of a loved one.
- Internal Organ Injury
The internal organs can be severely damaged and this is not always easy to recognize immediately. These include injuries to the lungs, spleen, liver, heart or aorta, bowels, kidneys etc. Fractured ribs can puncture into the internal organs of the chest causing severe damage. Torn spleens are frequently the most common.
Often, a quick check with an orthopedic surgeon will help rule out any possible internal or external injuries. Those that exist can get treated immediately. Dr. Hayden’s trained eye can detect many issues that could exist and attend to them immediately. Keep the adage in mind – prevention is better than cure and we might add, the earlier the care, faster the cure!
Lastly, needless to say, Drive Safe!
Penned by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD