911 is equipped to let you know if and when an injured person should reposition their body following a traumatic emergency injury to the neck, back, arms, legs, hands and feet, particularly, in the case of a neck injury, spinal injury or joint injury. As Dr. Peter Whang, Associate Professor, Spine Service, Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT adds, “Certain serious injuries, such as, unstable fractures, especially those involving the spine, may potentially result in more damage if they are subject to movement. Fortunately, these types of injuries are relatively rare but if there is any concern at all then it is prudent to immobilize the patient as best as possible and minimize any movement.”
Following recommendations from the 911 contact, it is wise to be prepared to disclose any medical conditions, medications, over-the-counter drugs, or supplements that the injured person may be taking in case any type of orthopedic surgery is required, such as, spine surgery or joint surgery for any area of the body. This is also the case for any other types of surgeries or treatment you may require, such as, for brain injury, due to the traumatic injury.
Spinal cord injuries and joint injuries often result from an accident that produces a blow or twist to the face, head, neck, chest, flanks or back, which may also cause other medical conditions, like a closed head injury, traumatic brain injury, and life threatening conditions. These types of accidents include:
-Construction Accident, 3rd leading cause of injury-related death
-Sports Injuries, 3.5 million injuries under 14 years of age, with 40% of children ages 5-14, and brain injuries accounting for 20%
-Car Accident, affecting 2.9 million people with injuries each year
-Falls, 2.2 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 581,000 of these patients were hospitalized
-Trucker Accidents, totaling roughly 145,000 annually
-Motorcycle, Off Road, All Terrain Vehicles, Moped, Snow Mobile Accidents, 96,000 motorcyclists injured and over 5,000 were killed in 2008. Close to 60% were not wearing a helmet!
-Aggressive Body Twisting
-War Victims, accounting for thousands to date
-Blunt Force Objects in workplace environments, such as, construction work sites, electric shock, bullet penetration, and wounds may also result in spinal cord injuries
What You Can Expect
Trauma I and Trauma II Medical Centers are the types of hospitals that you will be directed to following a severe traumatic injury, via ambulance after the 911 phone intake. Your trauma orthopedic specialist may see up to 300 patients a month so they are keenly aware of the many types of differences between traumatic orthopedic injuries. They work on-call at times to be fully prepared to arrive at the hospital as soon as the call is put through from 911. So, it’s best to call 911 for this reason as well. Following immediate needs intervention, you will be either admitted to the hospital for additional diagnostic tests and/or treatments; or discharged and directed to follow up with an orthopedic specialist.
The protocol you follow after discharge from the hospital with a fracture, joint injury, or any other type of orthopedic injury may significantly impact the type of recovery you will have, the extent of proper healing and potentially your quality of life. So, it is important to explicitly adhere to the instructions that the injured party has been given by their medical professionals and on the discharge papers from the hospital. Even many major orthopedic injuries are treatable to offer you a quality of life that may be comparable to the lifestyle you had before your injury. Proper follow-up will certainly help you get there!
It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition.