Most people have never heard the term “polytrauma” until they suffer it – often in a serious car crash or other event. Sometimes, even a serious fall can cause polytrauma. So can violent attacks and things like being crushed – for example, during a severe weather event or a workplace accident.
It means – as you might suspect – more than one severe injury. Polytrauma often involves one or more orthopedic injuries, which are injuries to the musculoskeletal system. This includes our bones, muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons and cartilage – basically, everything that holds our body together and allows us to have the mobility we need to accomplish both simple and complicated tasks. When the damage involves things like crushed or shattered bones or joint dislocation, it’s sometimes referred to as complex orthopedic trauma.
Cases of polytrauma can involve other types of serious injuries, like:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neurological damage
- Extracranial injuries
People who have suffered polytrauma are typically transported to the nearest Level 1 medical center so they can get comprehensive emergency care. Additional care will be based on the type of injuries they have. Often, at least one surgical procedure is necessary to begin to repair the damage.
High-speed and other serious collisions can cause multiple kinds of injuries
High-speed crashes – especially those involving large, heavy vehicles, can cause polytrauma. Pedestrians, bicyclists and those on scooters are often at particular risk of multiple serious injuries when struck by a vehicle because they have little or no protection.
What’s important to understand is that you may not know the full extent of the treatment you’ll need both in the short and long term. This may include a team of orthopedists, neurosurgeons and other medical professionals. You also can’t know the psychological toll these injuries will take and what kind of mental health care you may need.
If you or a loved one is dealing with polytraumatic injuries after a crash or other accident caused by someone else’s negligence or actions, it’s crucial to seek the compensation needed to handle the expenses and other damages. Having experienced legal guidance can help.