Hit by a speeding forklift, a warehouseman suffers crushing injures to his legs and feet...A construction worker falls from a scaffold breaking both wrists and one elbow... A machinist is struck by the pieces of a shattered grinding wheel resulting in multiple fractures and penetrating wounds to his right arm and both legs...
All are faced with serious, limb-threatening, life altering injuries.
Managing the traumatically injured patient, especially those with multiple orthopedic injuries, often presents unique medical challenges. These patients often require immediate treatment at unpredictable hours such as nights, weekends and holidays. Treatment must often be initiated without the benefit of detailed history and physical examination, a pre-existing doctor-patient relationship, or insurance authorizations.
These patients typically need thoughtful, timely intervention to minimize complications, speed recovery, and return the patient to maximum functional capability. In patients with open fractures, emergent irrigation and debridement of the traumatic wounds is necessary. Most displaced unstable fractures require surgical stabilization. This often involves the use of implants such as plates and screws, intra-medullary nails, and external fixators.
When is a Trauma Specialist Needed?
Injuries requiring the intervention of a trauma specialist are generally acute in nature, although trauma specialists are often called upon to evaluate the chronic effects of past trauma. Patients with the following acute and chronic conditions may benefit from referral to a trauma and fracture care specialist:
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