What is a catastrophic injury

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Injuries can happen to any of us
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Knowing what is a catastrophic injury and the medical options may be critical

A catastrophic injury can be a sudden and unexpected occurrence that can put a strain not only on your mental and physical well-being, but on your check book as well. Families and friends may also bear some of the burden of hospital, rehabilitation, and other such medical costs. The damage done can be both mental and physical, for the victim, as well as family, friends, and loved ones.

Depending upon the type of damage, the hurt party can sustain a variety of potential issues, such as a traumatic brain injury, paralysis, blindness, burns, loss of limbs, and more. For those interested in learning more about these types of injuries, we'll take a look below at more detailed descriptions of each type.

What Constitutes This Sort of Damage?
  • Paralysis
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Accidental loss of limbs
  • Loss of sight
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Loss of hearing, and more

Basically, these type of injuries are ones that will result in a permanent -- or debilitating -- loss, or overall impairment, of normal functionality for the person involved. Many of these instances may also result in the sufferer needing life-long medical care, as well. Hospital costs and rehabilitation may be continuing costs that occur even after the initial incident. Patients may need a wheelchairs, lifts, specialized home-medical equipment like beds and other supplies, for the rest of their lives.

These injuries can result from any number of instances, but usually will occur without warning. On-the-job accidents are not uncommon for many different fields. Sometimes events happen during day-to-day life, when playing sports, or even on vacation. They are unfortunate occurrences that we try our best to avoid -- But sometimes, we can't.

Not only will a person's body be changed, but they may also experience mood, memory, mobility, energy level, and personality changes after the incident. There can be loss of income as they recuperate in the hospital, as well. Let's take a closer look in the coming paragraphs on specific cases.

Traumatic Brain Damage

There are two types of traumatic brain injuries:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) -- This results from an accident or fall, being an external blow to the head. It also happens to be the leading cause of death in people under the age of 45 in the U.S. These sorts of brain injuries take place every 15 seconds.
  • Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) -- This, on the other hand, usually comes about due to internal brain damage, like a stroke, tumor, hypoxia, and other such nasty illnesses.

Brain injuries can and do affect memory and can cause increased fatigue in patients, mood swings, and certain physical and mental limitations for the sufferer.


Like brain injuries listed above, there are two major types of paralysis:
  • Quadriplegia -- This type will normally result in loss of feeling and muscle strength in both arms and both legs.
  • Paraplegia -- This type usually affects the legs and abdominal region of a person's body.

These different types are usually the result of acute trauma to the spinal cord.

Loss of Limbs

This can occur from on-the-job accidents, freak accidents, or from diseases like cancer or diabetes.

Severe Burns

There is a classification system for burns, ranging from 1st to 6th degree burns; for the most part, though, anything above 3rd degree burns is usually fatal. The 1st degree variety are usually minor, with short-term pain associated with them.

2nd degree burns go deeper into the skin, with potential for nerve damage and shock in certain situations. 3rd degree burns are very severe and can be truly life-threatening for the person. Nerves will be destroyed by the trauma and skin will be burned off.

For 3rd degree sufferers, skin grafts may be necessary to replace lost skin.


Above photo attributed to Ed Yourdon

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