Severity of injury in many cases is not interconnected to obvious damage of the car. Minor automobile damage may cause severe injuries and vice-versa. Severe automobile damage may cause minor injuries. Minor injuries may not need any referral to ER or primary care physician. In few cases of automobile collision, the injured driver and passenger may be trapped in the car for several hours. Seriously injured driver will be taken to emergency room (ER) by an ambulance as soon as possible. Patients who can ambulate and respond to questions are interviewed after initial evaluation. After initial report, driver is given a choice to drive or be driven by ambulance to primary care physician’s office or ER for further examination. Initial accident report is done by police officer.
Non-Life Threatening Injuries
Open wound is abrasion, laceration, or penetration injuries. Penetration injury is caused by sharp object penetrating through skin, subcutaneous tissue or muscles. Life Wound such as abrasion, laceration and penetration of skin and subcutaneous tissue is not life threatening.
- Lacerations– Laceration is causes by blunt trauma and may indicate irregular tear of skin and subcutaneous tissue. Laceration causes pain and minor bleeding.
- Abrasions– Abrasion is a superficial injury of the skin. Abrasion causes grinding of superficial layer of the skin
Close wounds are associated with superficial injuries. Close wound often restricted within skin, subcutaneous tissue and muscles. Close wound is mostly caused by blunt trauma. Close wounds are contusion, hematoma, or bruises.
- Contusion or Bruises– Contusion is also known as bruises. Contusion is a type of hematoma (blood clot). Contusion is mostly secondary to blunt trauma-causing bleeding from capillaries or venules (tiny blood vessels). Contusion or bruises are often limited to subcutaneous tissue and muscles. Bruises or contusions are sometime associated with loss of superficial layer of skin. Bruises causes skin discoloration resulting in blue or purple discoloration of skin.
- Hematoma– A hematoma is a collection of blood outside the blood vessels within subcutaneous tissue or muscles. Bleeding may be secondary to rupture of small arteries or veins. Quantity of total volume of blood oozed out of blood vessels is anywhere between 50 cc to 350 cc.
- Fracture of Hand or Finger Joints– Fracture of small joints of hand, foot, fingers and toes may not cause major pain or complications. Joint should be examined to rule out fracture if wounded patient is complaining of pain.
Symptoms and Signs of Non-Life Threatening Injuries
- Severe pain.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Short of breath.
- Conscious and answers all questions appropriately.
- Complaint of weakness but able to move all four extremities on command.
- Able to sit and stand with no dizziness or nausea.
- Able to sit and stand with mild dizziness.
- Moderate to severe headache.
- No agitation, but anxious.
- Alert and not confuse.
- Memory and vision normal.
- Tired but not lethargic.
- No convulsion or seizure.
- No blood in cough, urine, stool, and vomits.
- Normal pinkish skin.
- Normal blood pressure.
- Mild increase of heart rate.
- Breathing normal or hyperventilating because of anxiety.
- Anxious not restless.
- Difficulties in breathing.
- Able to move all four extremities with or without pain.
- Able to seat or stand without dizziness.
- Skin abrasion or bruises seen, no penetrating wound.
- Mild bleeding observed, control by pressure dressing.
- Signs of fracture of bones in hand, foot, fingers and toes.
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