Road mishaps cause head injury, brain damage
Dr. Aditya Gupta
Pertaining to the increasing cases of traumatic head injury that leaves most of the patients severely morbid for lifetime, there is a dire need to raise awareness among the masses to safely evacuate any such patient to the hospital within the golden period.
While road traffic injuries contribute to the majority of cases with head injury, people need to follow all the road safety rules, which remains the only preventive option. In view of the same, Artemis Agrim Institute of Neurosciences, Gurugram organised an awareness session aiming to educate young riders and pillions on the correct use of safety devices like helmets, seat belts which play a crucial role in preventing damage to the brain during accidents.
According to the statistics from the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) India has one of the worst road safety records in the world. Around 400 people die in road accidents every day, where over 1317 accidents occur each day with 60% patients of sustained head injury. The factors vary from speeding, drinking under the influence (DIU), reckless or rash driving to jumping red lights and unsafe lane changes. This indicates that hospitals are packed with low-risk as well as extremely critical road accident victims every day.
Head injuries, be it due to road accidents, trauma, or for any reason, is the major cause of permanent disability and other serious consequences including cognitive disabilities, loss of vision & speech, deafness, mild to severe paralysis, neurological & neuropsychiatric issues and in severe cases can also cause fatality. Just like the golden hour in heart attack and brain attack, wider awareness needed for the golden hour period in head injury as well.
With advancements in the field of treatment for polytrauma and critical care services, serious accident victims sustaining head injuries can not only be saved but also lead a better quality of life post treatment, provided they arrive within the golden period. Also need for a dedicated integrated neurointensive care unit which is well integrated with Neurosurgery services. This has been a key differentiator for Agrim Institute of Neurosciences at Artemis Hospital, Gurugram.
According to the WHO data, road deaths are the biggest cause of unnatural deaths in India and they include pedestrians, who constitute a significant share of these fatalities. In the last decade, 1.2 million accidental deaths, 5 million serious injuries & disabilities happened on the Indian Roads. And it’s needless to say that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
This indicates that hospitals are packed with low-risk as well as extremely critical road accident victims every day. It is seen that in most of the cases delay in detecting and providing care for patients with head injuries has been responsible for the increase in severity and morbidity. More than 50% of such cases end up with permanent disability if not treated timely or efficiently.
(Dr. Aditya Gupta is the Director, Neurosurgery, Agrim institute of neuro sciences, Artemis Hospital)