Catastrophic injuries

Catastrophic injuries commonly involve one or more of the following:

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

‘TBI’ is damage to the brain from an external mechanical force, leading to permanent or temporary impairment of cognitive, physical, and/or psychosocial functions, often with a diminished or altered state of consciousness.

SPINAL CORD INJURY

Damage to the spinal cord, the major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies within the vertebral canal and from which the spinal nerves emerge. The spinal cord consists of nerve fibers that transmit impulses to and from the brain. Spinal cord injury results in a change, either temporary or permanent, in the cord’s normal motor, sensory, or autonomic function. Those suffering from a spinal cord injury usually have permanent and often devastating neurologic deficits and disability.

PARALYSIS

A loss or impairment of the ability to voluntarily move (and sometimes to feel) a part or most of the body, usually caused by injury to the nerves, brain or spinal cord.

AMPUTATION

The removal of a portion or all of a body part that is enclosed by skin. Amputation may be the result of trauma or surgical intervention necessitated by damage to a body part so severe that it is beyond feasible repair.

BURNING, SCARRING OR DISFIGUREMENT

Quite apart from the excruciating pain and functional limitations caused by injuries that scar and disfigure, psychological damage (see below) can often result. Pain, limitation and psychological problems from burns, scars and disfigurement can persist for a lifetime, and can require long-term specialized care.

SERIOUS ORTHOPEDIC INJURY

Orthopedic injuries involve damage to the musculoskeletal system - that is, the skeleton and associated structures such as tendons and ligaments.

ORGAN DAMAGE

Apart from injury to the brain and the skin described above, the eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys and all other organs in the human body are also susceptible to damage from trauma.

PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE

Significant limitations in function, severe sensory changes, dramatic aesthetic changes and excruciating pain can have a profound psychological impact. The dramatic reduction in quality of life for survivors of catastrophic injuries can result in mental anguish, depression, anxiety and despair. These psychological issues can require psychiatric intervention, psychological counselling and long-term care by mental health professionals.

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