Skip to comments.Booze May Save Drunken Trauma Patients Trauma patients have better chance of survival
Posted on 10/02/2009 8:06:23 AM PDT by KeyLargo
Any experienced police officer or EMT will tell you that it is not unusual for drunks to survive vehicle accidents where many times the sober victims of the traumatic injuries caused from the same collision do not survive.
Booze May Save Drunken Trauma Patients Trauma patients have better chance of survival if intoxicated, according to study
By OLSEN EBRIGHT Updated 7:55 AM CDT, Fri, Oct 2, 2009
An intoxicated friend hands you his or her beer and says, "Watch this."
A story like that usually ends with a trip to the ER. Obviously alcohol is to blame. But, according to a new study, alcohol may actually be the reason your friend survives.
According to the study, researchers believe alcohol changes a victim's chemical response to injury, resulting in a lower risk of death, U.S. News & World reported:
The latest study of 7,985 trauma patients found that 7 percent of sober patients died compared to 1 percent of intoxicated patients. All of the patients were of similar age and had similar injuries.
But before you try that next keg stand, be aware, this study isn't a license to binge drink.
"This study is not encouraging the use of alcohol," said principal investigator Dr. Christian de Virgilio of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
"It is seeking to further explore earlier studies that had found alcohol may improve the body's response to severe injuries. If alcohol is proven to improve the body's response to traumatic injury, it could lead to treatments that help patients survive and recover more quickly," Virgilio said.
So if you really want to up your chances of surviving a trauma, steer clear of the sauce all together.
"Hundreds of thousands of deaths occur each year due to alcohol-related intentional and unintentional injuries, and alcohol is involved in up to 30 percent of adult hospital admissions, particularly those to emergency rooms," according to the World Health Organization.
The study appears in the October issue of American Surgeon. First Published: Oct 1, 2009 4:11 PM CDT
can’t be traumatized if your so boozed up you didn’t know the leg was gone.
Then again, if they weren’t drunk, they probably wouldn’t BE a trauma patient....
I blew out my flip-flop
Stepped on a pop-top
Cut my heel had to cruise on back home
But theres booze in the blender
And soon it will render
That frozen concoction that helps me hang on
— Jimmy Buffett (medical genius)
We talked about this 50 years ago. We attributed it to the person being relaxed during the crash.
Eeez not drunk, eeez protectin himself.
during the creash?
you’d have to be asleep or stone drunk to be relaxed during a crash
Will healthcare reform include taxpayer provided ethanol?
The last thing I’m gonna do if I see a crash a-coming is relax.
Alcohol consumed to inebriation is a central nervous system depressant. Trauma induced shock is of two kinds, the emotional shock, which is an acute stress reaction; and circulatory shock, which is a life threatening medical condition.
The two are in some ways interrelated. Acute stress reaction shock causes a general discharge in the sympathetic nervous system, which causes a cascade of physiological effects. Circulatory shock, often caused by physical trauma, means that inadequate oxygen is being delivered to the cells of the body and blood carbon dioxide is not being eliminated like it should be.
Though they can be independent of each other, when combined they result in the “shock” associated with serious injury in a patient, which can be very deadly.
Alcohol, because it is a depressant, both slows down and stabilizes both of these somewhat. However, it is not the optimum way to do so. In Germany, paramedics at an accident scene often issue injected Valium in those who are emotionally upset in many ways, which *prevents* an emotional response of about any kind. And this may not be voluntary—if they think you need a shot, you get a shot.
But it does so much more. It possesses anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), anticonvulsant, hypnotic, sedative, skeletal muscle relaxant, and amnestic (memory inhibiting) properties.
So, as the expression goes, everybody at a German accident scene is “cool as a cucumber”, or else. But this strongly improves survival rates among those with similar serious injuries.
I worked with someone who was an EMT on the weekends. Once, he came in after working on a head on collision that was so bad it made the local television news.
The sober driver of the hit vehicle: dead on impact. The drunk driver (I think he was at .20 blood alcohol level: survived. My colleague said that it was not uncommon for drunk people to survive collisions where sober people died.
I recall a call I ran as a fireman, 10-50PI, the vehicle had crossed the centerline, gone off the left side of the road on a turn and hit a telephone pole. The driver was transported by ambulance with a broken leg after extrication, and had facial injuries from contact with the steering wheel. All pretty normal, considering this was in the days when seat belts were only in about 1/2 the cars on the road, and this particular one had neither seat belts, shoulder restraints, nor a padded dashboard. (Airbags were still science fiction).
The enigma was over the passenger. The windshield was broken out on the passenger side, glass scattered across the hood, and no one to be seen. Nor was there any appreciable amount of blood, nor an object found in front to the vehicle which could have done that sort of damage to the glass.
After an intensive search, a fellow walked up and identified himself as the passenger. He was intoxicated, by his own admission both he and the driver had been drinking 'a few', and he reeked of whiskey. He had a few scratches on his face and hands, and some bits of grass in his hair.
When asked how he came to be walking about, he said that he saw they were going to wreck, and put his feet on the dashboard to brace himself. His feet slipped on impact, and he went through the windshield feet first, landing in the thick grass in the ditch with only a few scratches and some bits of vegetation stuck in his hair.
No serious injury.
Sadly, not all accidents ended that way, but we attributed the alcohol induced muscle relaxation and a very fortunate trajectory to his well being.