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more about Trauma

  • Injury, as opposed to an illness or a disease
  • In the usual context, trauma implies a serious or life-threatening Injury, requiring prompt emergency treatment.

  • Usually at least one of the 4 vital signs will be abnormal: blood pressure, pulse, breathing rate, temperature.
  • Severe pain, weakness, pallor, some amount of blood loss or Dehydration
  • Decreased level of consciousness

  • Penetrating wounds, any type of interaction with a blunt or sharp object
  • Burns

  • Often the patient is unable to provide a history, and diagnosis depends on physical examination and X-rays, to determine the type of trauma.
  • In case of very serious trauma, rapid assessment of 5 body areas is one systematic way of making sure that hidden trauma is not missed, while the patient's or medical staff's attention is drawn to the most obvious trauma (in a patient with multiple injuries).  The patient may not be alert enough to provide information.  The 5 areas checked are:
    1. Brain and spinal cord: test pupil responses, level of alertness, ability to move the 4 extremities unaided
    2. Chest: Assess breath sounds, heart sounds, oxygen content of the blood, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram
    3. Abdomen: Look for distended abdomen; assess bowel sounds; abdominal X-ray; perform blood tests for liver damage, pancreas damage; pass a plastic tube through the nose or mouth into the stomach if necessary to see if blood is present in suctioned stomach juice.  A rectal exam is done to check for blood.
    4. Kidneys, urinary tract, and reproductive organs: These are not actually in the abdomen -- they are behind the abdomen or below it in the pelvis.  A urine sample is obtained and the reproductive organs are examined manually.
    5. Bones and joints: Look for point tenderness or swelling/bleeding over one particular spot, or crepitus (a crinkling sound or a feeling like the popping of bubble-wrap, occurring over a broken bone)
  • Above are listed examples of how these 5 areas are checked.

  • Dangerous occupations
  • Falls, auto accidents, fires, natural disasters

  • Clear the airway
  • Establish breathing, give oxygen as needed
  • Support the circulation of the blood
  • Basic life support or advanced life support
  • Pain relief
  • Repair any damage; this might require the operating room.

  • Need for a respirator to breathe for the patient, and/or medication to support the blood pressure and treat shock (from loss of blood or loss of body water)
  • Organ damage may have occurred, either temporary or permanent.

  • Call 911 or local source of emergency aid for any Injury that might be serious.
  • Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to support breathing and the circulation of the blood.
  • If you cannot reach your own physician immediately, sometimes urgent advice is available by telephoning an emergency room.

more about Trauma

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