A car crash can cause substantial damage to your vehicle and your body. However, some injuries rise to a level deemed catastrophic, which means you have to face a substantial change in your lifestyle. Some injuries, such as spinal cord trauma almost always lead to this outcome, but other injuries may become catastrophic if certain factors present during and after the crash.
A broken leg can become catastrophic after a car accident. Learn how something that seems common may leave you facing a change in life.
What is an open fracture?
The forces of a car crash reverberate through the body, especially the hands, feet and legs because these contact points bear the brunt of the energy transfer between vehicles. The hands, arms, feet and legs remain most vulnerable to fracture in a collision, and while not all bone breaks leave you needing long-term medical care, open compound fractures may.
These bone breaks involve a complete separation that rips through the skin and neighboring tissue. This opening created by the bones coming through serves as a direct line of entry into the body for bacteria. Since car crashes are not clean environments, the dirt, debris and bacteria in the air may migrate to the wound and into the body.
How can a fracture lead to permanent disability?
Doctors need to ensure that the tissue inside near the fracture remains infection free before they can permanently set the bone and close the wound. This may mean an extended hospital stay with multiple surgeries. If an infection takes hold, doctors may have to begin removing extensive sections of tissue and bone. In extreme cases, amputation is the only way to stop the infection from spreading throughout the body.
While most bone breaks will not rise to this level of medical need, some do. Loss of tissue, bone and limb all rise to catastrophic injuries.