Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crush Injury: Life And Limbs To Save In Japan

Haiti, Chile, New Zealand—emerging from the rubble of recent quake disasters was a signature wound, the crush injury. Last weekend's Australian recounts one on-the-spot amputation in Christchurch like a scene straight out of 127 Hours. Too often an improvised amputation presents the only choice to save the life of a victim whose crushed muscles and tissues release toxins and particles that quickly overwhelm the organs, leading to profound shock and death. From the Australian article:

Physician Dario Gonzalez, a disaster rescue veteran and member of the New York Fire Department search and rescue squad, was among those who flew to Haiti to help rescue survivors. In a paper he notes that up to 40 per cent of survivors pulled out of collapsed, multi-storey buildings suffer from crush injuries. He also estimates that 20 per cent of the 242,769 deaths from the 1976 magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Tangshen, China, were caused by crush syndrome.

Kidney dialysis can be lifesaving if delivered soon enough. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help promote healing and save limbs over the longer term.

We're digging for more news on the ground from Japan, where so many precious hours have already passed and access to transportation, electricity, and healthcare must be difficult or impossible after such a powerful quake and tsunami.

O2.0 is the news blog of HyperbaricLink, the independent web guide to hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

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