Our top traumatic mechanisms of injury are falls and motor vehicle collisions. At Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center we saw over 340 motor vehicle, motorcycle, and moped collisions in 2021. We also saw nearly 100 pedestrian injuries and bicycle injuries related to unsafe roadways last year.
A motor vehicle collision can lead to many different types of injuries. These vary depending on the situation, but we see anything from broken bones, sprains, bruises, lacerations that need sutures, road rash, concussions and head injuries. We also see chest and abdominal injuries that can lead to internal bleeding and broken hips. These may be minor where the patient receives treatment and goes home or they could be major where the patient needs surgery and has to stay in the hospital for an extended time.
First, motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death in the US and that impact isn't measurable when it comes to your family member. Other impacts will depend on the severity of injury and the time it takes to heal. The patient often has to deal with a lot of pain and life changes as they heal. There may be long hospital stays and rehabilitation time. The patient may have to stay out of work for extended time as they heal and other family members may have to stay out of work to provide care leading to changes in family dynamics. There are also often high financial costs to hospital stays and the financial burden of not being able to work. The patient may also experience emotional trauma and need additional support. There are many aspects that impact the patient and their loved ones.
Prevention is important for many of the reasons we just discussed not only do motor vehicle collisions lead to injuries which are painful and life changing, but they also impact almost every other aspect of life. When we start looking at the financial end of things, such as the cost of health care with an average hospital bill for someone hospitalized after a crash being around $50,000. And the lost wages related to missing work. We really see and feel the impact car crashes have on not just the patient but on society. Even without the focus on cost prevention is key and keeping people healthy and productive.
Vision Zero is a collaborative initiative that works to eliminate road deaths and focuses on prevention education for the public as well as road design and sustainability. Prevention education can involve seatbelt safety, distracted driving, speed, impaired driving, teen driving safety, bicycle safety and pedestrian safety. roadway design is also an important aspect because we can teach safety but we are still human and humans make mistakes. So improving the design of roads and traffic safety will help reduce the chances of crashes occurring.