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How Do You Treat a Serious Injury?

surgeons operating

Serious injuries always require medical attention. Depending on the type of injury, different treatments may be necessary. Never try to treat a serious injury on your own or move someone who is seriously injured. Instead, call 911 right away and follow the instructions you receive from the operator.

In some cases, you may need to place the injured person in the recovery position until help arrives, and in other cases, you will need to leave the person alone until help arrives. Always listen carefully and err on the side of caution.

What to Do Immediately After an Accident

As soon as you know someone is hurt, check your surroundings to make sure that you and the injured person are not in any danger. If you are in danger, do what you can to make the situation safe. For example, you may need to stop traffic after a car accident.

Once you and the injured person are out of harm’s way, call 911. Always call 911 before you assess the injury. When assessing the injury, start by checking whether the injured person is responsive. Ask them loudly if they’re OK. If they respond, ask them to keep their eyes open, keep talking to them – and keep an eye on their breathing, pulse, and responsivity.

If the person is unconscious and not breathing, you may need to open their airway using the jaw thrust technique. Place your hands on either side of the injured person’s head and use your fingertips to gently angle the jaw forward and upwards without moving the head. Do not move the injured person’s head or neck, especially if you suspect a spinal cord injury.

Watch to make sure the injured person is breathing – observe their chest rising and falling, listen over their nose and mouth for the sound of breathing, and see if you can feel their breath against your skin.

Do not panic and stay with the injured person and monitor their condition until help arrives.

Treating a Spinal Cord Injury

Only emergency personnel should handle someone with a spinal cord injury. At the scene of the accident, emergency responders usually immobilize the spine with a rigid neck collar and carrying board and use the board to transport the patient to the hospital.

In the hospital, providers may perform emergency surgery to remove fluid or tissue, bone fragments, disk fragments, or foreign objects that press on the spinal cord. They may also fuse broken spinal cords or place spinal braces. Otherwise, doctors may use traction to stabilize and align the spine, administer methylprednisolone (Medrol) to reduce inflammation and damage to nerve cells, or try another experimental technique to try and prevent further spinal cord damage.

After emergency intervention, the only treatment for a spinal cord injury is rehabilitation. Patients can try physical therapy, assistive devices, adaptive devices, occupational therapy, vocational therapy, and special techniques and coping strategies to make the most of life with a spinal cord injury.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for spinal cord injuries, but treatments and therapies can help minimize the damage and increase the quality of life for those who suffer them.

Treating a Traumatic Brain Injury

Even the mildest traumatic brain injuries (i.e., concussions) require medical attention. According to the National Institutes of Health:

Emergency care generally focuses on stabilizing and keeping the patient alive, including making sure the brain gets enough oxygen, controlling blood and brain pressure, and preventing further injury to the head or neck.

Providers may perform emergency surgery to remove blood clots or pools, repair skull fractures, or relieve pressure and swelling inside the skull. Once a patient is stable, medications and rehabilitation can help with recovery. People with traumatic brain injuries may need physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, cognitive therapy, and psychological therapy, as well as medications for anxiety and depression, stimulants and muscle relaxants, anticoagulants, diuretics, and anticonvulsants.

Like spinal cord injuries, there is no cure for traumatic brain injuries. People with these kinds of injuries usually have to adjust to a new way of life.

Treating a Severe Burn Injury

Burns that cover the face or genitals, second-degree burns that cover 10% or more of the body, and all third-degree burns are considered severe burn injuries. While mild burns can be treated at home with cool water, aloe vera gel, and antibiotic cream, moderate and severe burn injuries require medical attention.

People with burn injuries may need IV hydration and even skin grafts to help them heal. They also run the risk of infection and other complications.

Treating a Broken Bone

Healthcare providers usually treat broken bones (also called fractures) with casts or splints. These treatments keep the bone immobilized while it grows back together and heals. More severe fractures may require surgery, along with screws, plates, and frames to hold the bone steady.

On average, it takes patients 6 to 8 weeks to recover from a broken bone, but fractures can cause lasting complications.

Treating Cuts, Lacerations, and Severe Bleeding

Severe bleeding can – and should – be addressed as soon as possible. If someone is bleeding severely, call 911 immediately. While you wait for help to arrive, you can remove clothing and debris near the wound and apply pressure using a sterile bandage or clean cloth. Do not remove any embedded objects or put direct pressure on an eye injury or embedded object.

If you know how to do so safely, you can also apply a tourniquet but DO NOT do so if you are unfamiliar with the process, as it could cause more damage. In any case, keep pressing firmly on the area and do not remove the gauze, bandage, or cloth you are using to apply pressure. If possible, help the injured person lie down on a rug or blanket to prevent the loss of body heat and immobilize the injured body part as soon as possible. Elevating the wound above the heart can make it harder for blood to flow to the wound.

Calmly reassure the injured person and try to maintain light conversation to keep them conscious. In the hospital, doctors will clean the wound and apply glue, stitches, or staples, if necessary. They will also take steps to prevent infection, including bandaging the cut or laceration.

Most severe cuts and lacerations heal with time, but infections can be devastating, and patients may be left with lifelong scars.

How Am I Going to Afford My Treatment?

After an accident and serious injury, medical bills can pile up. If someone else is responsible for your injury, you should not have to face these bills – and the other financial consequences – on your own.

The Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli can help you cope with your post-accident losses by holding the individual or institution that caused your injury accountable.

If you are facing the aftermath of a serious injury-causing accident, don’t do it alone. Instead, call us at (516) 628-6402 or contact us online to put over 2 decades of legal experience on your side. We offer free consultations, 24/7, so do not hesitate to call or click today.

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