Accident Medicine (Traumatology)

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  • Accident Medicine (Traumatology)
  • Accident Medicine (Traumatology): History

Even if the term sounds so - traumatology has nothing to do with sweet dreams, but with painful reality. His German counterpart, accident medicine, awakens the right associations. Trauma in Greek means "wound, injury". On the one hand, the term means any action which damages the organism ("traumatized"), e.g. an accident or mental shock. On the other hand, it also refers to the resulting damage, eg. the resulting bone fracture with flesh wound or anxiety disorder.

Traumatology is thus the study of the origin, prevention, recognition and treatment of accidental injury. However, she limits herself to physical injuries, which the synonymous term accident surgery also suggests. Doctors who specialize in it are referred to as specialists in orthopedics and trauma surgery. Mental injuries are the specialty of psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy or psychiatry and psychotherapy.

The tasks of traumatology

Accident doctors have to master many things. These include first aid at the scene of the accident, shock treatment and surgical care in the hospital. The situation often needs to be assessed very quickly - if there are several injured people who need help, where is their potential danger, what do I do first, what can be maintained or delegated, what needs to be done immediately to prevent further damage or harm to others, how and where will the injured person be transported (eg to a special burn clinic) - this short selection already shows how many things have to be done and kept in mind at the same time.

Severe and multiple injured

Patients with a polytrauma, ie with multiple injuries in at least two body regions, e.g. After a car accident, are particularly at risk for life-threatening complications and require a lot of experience of the treating team, which often consists of several fields.

If the acute threat is averted and complications are contained, patients must be adequately cared for - often first in the intensive care unit. Sometimes it is then transferred to a specialist department or a specialized clinic. Rehabilitation measures (sometimes over months to years) are necessary, especially in the case of those seriously and multiply injured, including medical training and equipment therapies under the guidance of physiotherapists and occupational therapy.

Patients may need a supply of prosthetics or aids, information on legal and social issues (such as reintegration into work, reduced earning capacity, late damage, bereavement, etc.) and often also psychological support. All this requires the coordination, assessment and supervision of accident surgeons and their specialized teams.

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