If a loved one has suffered one or more severe injuries in a car crash, catastrophic accident or an act of violence, you may have heard a doctor say that they’ve suffered “orthopedic trauma.” Just what does that mean?
An orthopedic injury is one that involves the musculoskeletal system, which includes our muscles, bones, ligaments and joints. Orthopedic trauma typically refers to an injury caused by some external force. Amputations, broken bones and dislocations can be considered orthopedic trauma. It’s not uncommon after a serious car crash.
Why some people suffer psychological effects after orthopedic trauma
Orthopedic trauma is often accompanied by psychological trauma. This can result from the severity of the injury – for example, having a leg amputated in a car collision or even a serious bone fracture where the bone punctured the skin. Just seeing your body so dramatically changed – even if it’s reparable – can be devastating.
The psychological trauma can also be caused by the events surrounding the injury itself. For example, if a person believed they were going to die (even for a few seconds) or saw someone else seriously injured or killed, that can be traumatic.
Some people suffer orthopedic trauma with relatively few psychological effects. It depends in part on an individual’s psychological make-up and past experiences. Someone who already suffers from anxiety may be far more seriously affected psychologically.
Not addressing the psychological damage can slow the physical healing process
Doctors agree that the psychological effects of orthopedic trauma need to be addressed for a person to heal physically. That means psychological care in addition to surgeries and other medical interventions (along with physical therapy and sometimes occupational therapy) may need to be part of a comprehensive treatment plan after a person suffers orthopedic trauma.
If the injury was caused by the negligence or actions of another party, it’s crucial not to accept a settlement until you know the full extent of the expenses for this treatment. You also need to factor in the expenses you’ll have in the long-term or even permanently to adjust to life after the injury. By getting experienced legal guidance as soon as possible, you can better ensure that you receive justice and fair compensation.