A 51-year-old man from Delhi was rushed to the emergency of Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals after meeting with an accident. The incident took place when he was driving a car on a highway and was sitting in the rear. Due to high speed, the car lost control and rammed into a divider.
He was thrown in the front and to save his face and head he used his left hand which crashed into the windshield in the front portion of the car. Consequently, he severely fractured his wrist and is now undergoing treatment.
Over 20% of all road accident victims report orthopaedic trauma with severe injuries like spinal fractures, shoulder fractures & dislocation, wrist fractures. The most crucial fact here is that, most of these patients from car accidents have not been the ones driving but the people who are fellow passengers sitting in the rear.
Seat belts dramatically reduce the risk of death and serious injury. People not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to suffer from serious injuries during a car crash. Though there is some awareness about wearing seatbelts by the front seat passengers but very little awareness about people needing seatbelt in the backseat. It is well-established that wearing seatbelts can prevent or decrease the severity of the injury and that is true even for passengers in the backseat.
Dr. Yash Gulati, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, said, “ Annually we see over 5000 patients of orthopaedic trauma following a car accident being brought to our emergency. Out of all patients of road traffic accidents 20% are for orthopaedic trauma. These are injuries that can cause long term disabilities in patients and delayed treatment can also be life threatening. The most crucial fact here is that, most of these patients from car accidents have not been the ones driving but the people who are fellow passengers sitting in the rear. It is very crucial that we emphasise on the importance of seatbelts for all passengers travelling in a four wheeler and not just the ones sitting in front.”
In this case had the patient been wearing a seatbelt a very serious injury like this would be been easily avoided’, Dr. Gulati further added.
When this patient was admitted to Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, his x-ray revealed that his wrist was severely fractured, with multiple fractures in 8 bones that form the wrist structure. He had also had an open wrist fracture where a fragment of the bone had broken and was pushed out tearing the skin. Due to this, the patient was at an increased risk of infection in the bone.
Wrist fractures are the most common orthopaedic injuries but the most critical to treat as a wrist connects the forearm to the hand with ten small bones. Delayed treatment can lead to a frozen wrist where the patient’s wrist or the entire arm can become paralysed for life, hampering his day to day functioning.