But who the hell wants to read about someone who was in a minor car accident but was brought to me just as a precaution? Who wants to know about the old lady who loses her balance and bonks her head on an end table and ends up with nothing but a bump on the head and a mild concussion? Who cares about yet another drunk guy who falls off his bar stool, spends a couple of hours with me sobering up, and then endures a real sobering drive home with his wife appropriately yelling at him from the driver's seat? Is anyone even remotely interested in any of that?
I'm certainly not, but I have no choice in the matter. But I spare you good people the details about the mundane and boring people who come in with minor injuries, mainly because if I didn't you would all run away faster than teens from a Wiggles concert. No? Ok, faster than men from a Taylor Swift concert. Still no? Ok, faster than sane people from a Miley Cyrus concert.
Anyway, this next guy is not one of those boring people.
I mentioned Orville (not his real name©) briefly in a prior post (he was Victim #2) and promised I would get back to him, so now I'm keeping my damned promise. Orville is in his mid-20s, and like many young men his age he hasn't outgrown the immature belief that he's immortal and/or indestructible. Seat belts are too good for him, apparently, because he wasn't wearing his when the car in which he was a passenger went off the road at around 160 kph (100 mph) and struck a tree. As usual, the tree won. The tree always wins. Orville was thrown from the car and landed somewhere near the orbit of Venus, I believe.
When Orville got to me, he wasn't moving at all and was obviously close to death: his heart was beating around 160 times per minute because it was trying to compensate for his dangerously low blood pressure. About 60 seconds later, his heart gave up and stopped.
With CPR, several units of blood, and some medications, we restarted his heart a few minutes later, and we continued transfusing even more blood as we were finally able to start our evaluation. The first and most obvious thing I noticed is that his head looked completely uninjured, unusual for someone in such a severe accident.
"He is a complete mess," I mentioned to one of the assistants. "But at least his head looks ok. But that's about the only thing that looks ok."
Unfortunately looks can be deceiving.
Ultimately his workup revealed the following injuries:
- 5th cervical vertebra fracture
- 5th thoracic vertebra fracture
- 5th lumbar vertebra fracture
- cervical spinal cord injury
- Sacrum fracture
- Open-book pelvic fracture
- Three rib fractures on the left
- Left hemopneumothorax (bleeding, punctured lung)
- Cardiac contusion
- Bilateral (both sides) severe lung contusion
- Bilateral scapula (shoulder blade) fractures
- Bilateral acetabulum (hip socket) fractures (left side shattered)
- Bilateral Grade IV (that's bad) kidney lacerations
- Urethra laceration
- Bladder laceration
- Mesentery (blood supply of small bowel) laceration
- Multiple small bowel and colon contusions
- Multiple deep left arm lacerations and abrasions
- Subdural haematoma (bleeding under the dura mater, the tough covering over the brain)
His liver (and all the other internal organs) suffered contusions and/or ischaemic injuries from his initial haemorrhagic shock. There are only a few things on his entire body that weren't injured. I would say that his arms and legs were uninjured (other than innumerable lacerations and deep abrasions on his left arm), but since he ended up quadriplegic (unable to move his arms and legs due to his spinal cord injury), that doesn't seem to matter quite so much.
It always amazes me when I hear idiots claim that getting thrown from a car is safer than staying in it. Would you rather get thrown out of a car and deal with all the kinetic energy of hitting the ground, or would you rather stay in the car where all the seat belts, airbags, roll cages, and crumple zones surrounding you and keeping you safe are?