5 Common Catastrophic Injuries and the Need for Care after a Motor Vehicle Injury
On a snowy day in December, Mrs. L was in a car accident near her Wilmette Illinois home. As she was turning a corner, a driver skidded through a stop light and ran right into her car. Although the accident was not fatal, Mrs. L is now paralyzed from the waist down.
Each day, thousands of people are victims of catastrophic injuries causing damage to the spine, spinal cord, or brain. The most common catastrophic injuries are the result of motor vehicle accidents, contact sport injuries, and military service injuries. These injuries cause a huge lifestyle change for both the victim and their family. Simple tasks that could once be completed with ease (i.e. bathing, eating, getting in and out of bed, etc.), may be significantly more challenging to complete with a catastrophic injury.
Some injuries sustained from motor vehicle accidents may improve over the course of a few days and do not require any medical attention. Other injuries from motor vehicle accidents could lead to permanent damage and cause long-term disabilities. The severity of motor vehicle injuries are based on the conditions during the collision—weather, speed at which the vehicles were moving, make and model of the vehicle, whether or not the airbag deployed, the angle at which the vehicles collided, whether or not a seat belt was worn, etc. Minor injuries from motor vehicle accidents could include cuts and scrapes, chest bruising, and minor head injuries. However, some injuries sustained in car accidents that have a long-term impact on a person’s life including; Traumatic Brain Injuries, Whiplash Injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Injuries, and Personal Injuries.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries one could sustain from a motor vehicle accident. It is considered to be any injury to the neck, its ligaments, its muscles, or bones within. Whiplash is more of a minor injury, as people with whiplash typically feel symptoms only for a few days.
Traumatic Brain Injuries occur when a person’s head suffers very forceful impact with another object, disrupting the normal function of the brain. Motor vehicle injuries resulting in Traumatic Brain Injuries can be fatal, but those who survive experience many long-term challenges physically and mentally. Some of those challenges include memory loss, visual or hearing impairment, limb weakness, depression, and anxiety.
People can experience emotional and psychological damage after a motor vehicle accident, which could cause them suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Those who have been in car accidents typically experience anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger, and those feeling eventually start fading away. People suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder continue to feel all of the emotions, but to a point where it interferes with the ability for them to live a normal life.
Victims of Catastrophic Injuries often need specialized care to ensure that all of their activities of daily living are being taken care of. In Mrs. L’s case, some activities she now needs assistance with are catheter care, bathing, dressing, transportation assistance, and transferring between chairs and her bed. Mrs. L and her family hired some highly trained caregivers to assist Mrs. L with her new medical needs and activities of daily living. The road to recovery may be a long one, but she is getting the help she needs to get her through each day.
It takes some time getting readjusted into life with a catastrophic injury, so the need for care is a high priority. A caregiver’s job is not only to assist with daily activities, but to also provide the client with the tools to become as independent as possible.