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Multiple trauma means having several serious injuries from something like a fall, an attack, or a crash. The injuries could cause severe bleeding or break large bones. They might include damage to the brain or to organs such as the lungs or spleen. This type of trauma can also happen during war, when people are exposed to explosions or other violent events.
Trauma can cause brain injuries, breathing problems, organ failure, blood loss, infection, permanent disability, or loss of limbs. That's why many people with these injuries will go to an intensive care unit (ICU). An ICU is a part of the hospital where very sick people get care. ICU staff can treat, monitor, and manage severe injuries. Some ICUs specialize in trauma.
You will work closely with staff in the ICU. With multiple trauma injuries, doctors and nurses specializing in different parts of the body will help.
You'll often come to the ICU and find different people working there. This is normal. Nurses and doctors go on and off duty with shift changes. Doctors and specialists may change as they care for other people in the ICU. They get updated on each person's condition when they come on shift.
Don't be too alarmed by how patients look or act in the ICU. Severe trauma can cause bruising and swelling. It can affect thinking and speaking. People may be hooked up to machines and get pain medicines from a medicine pump.
Know that the hospital staff is well prepared to care for patients in the ICU. They will do everything they can to help. If patients need it, they can ask for support from friends and family. They can also ask the hospital staff about counselling and support.
With severe trauma, life could change dramatically. Some people recover completely. Others will have long-term health problems.
There's a lot going on in the ICU. It can be scary and confusing for patients and their families, friends, and supporters. But it's designed to keep your loved one comfortable and safe and to provide the best medical care.
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Current as of: August 21, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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