Each year, more than 130 million Americans suffer an injury or illness that is serious enough to lead them to emergency departments, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Some injuries and illnesses are self-inflicted. Others appear out of the blue. All require exceptional trauma/critical care delivered by doctors who must be prepared for any situation at any time.
Here is a look at five of the most common trauma/critical care situations providers see during their careers:
Someone experiences myocardial infarction once every 43 seconds in the United States, according to the CDC. That adds up to 735,000 people who find themselves in desperate need of medical assistance.
Thanks to awareness campaigns such as “Go Red for Women” and “Mission: Lifeline Act in Time,” many patients recognize both the symptoms and the importance of getting help as quickly as possible. And thanks to advances in technology and care, physicians have been able to increase survival rates for people who have suffered a heart attack and even cardiac arrest.
It’s estimated to cost the country $55 billion in health and social costs each year. The CDC says that it kills nearly 80 people a day. It’s been called an epidemic by the Department of Health & Human Services.
It is opioid abuse, and no physicians seem to be immune from its effects.
The epidemic presents challenges to physicians who have to provide the trauma/critical care for patients who have overdosed on opioids and prescribe the drugs with great care.
Last year in the United States, more than 35,000 people died after being involved in motor vehicle crashes, according to information released by the U.S. Department of Transportation. That’s a 7.2 percent increase from the previous year. In addition, another 2.44 million people were injured.
Vehicle crash victims can be incredibly challenging for physicians because they often present with an array of injuries that require a variety of trauma/critical care protocols, including herniated disks, spinal damage, head injuries, muscle weakness and leg pain.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says that one person dies of an injury every three minutes in the United States–and many of those injuries occur after falls.
In fact, nearly as many people die from injuries suffered in falls as those who are injured in vehicle crashes, and falls are the top reason people aged 65 and older receive trauma/critical care in emergency departments.
Physicians who are treating people injured after falling most commonly provide care for head injuries and hip fractures, according to the CDC.
While not as common as heart attacks, opioid abuse, crashes or falls, poisoning is a common cause for emergency department visits.
In 2014, more than 2 million people sought treatment after being exposed to some form of poison. According to Poison Control, a national organization that actively keeps tabs on the country’s 55 poison control centers, a person calls for assistance every 15 seconds in the United States.
Most of the victims of poisoning are children younger than 6 who have been poisoned by personal care products, cleaning substances and pain medications. Most adults are poisoned by pain medication, sedatives, sleeping medications, antidepressants and pain medications.
With more people than ever relying on emergency departments as their primary access point, physicians who are capable of delivering trauma/critical care play an important role in the country’s healthcare system.
This may change in the future, but for now, the country continues to depend on the expertise of those who can deliver trauma/critical care.
Are you interested in a trauma/critical care career at Elliot Health System?