Mechanisms of trauma help determine the severity of the injury.

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When someone falls off the five-foot platform and leaves easily, a funny video pops up on YouTube. But if someone fell off the roof of a five-story building and got away unscathed, it would have been on the evening news. Why? Because we all instinctively know that it is impossible to survive (or barely survive) such a long fall.

Prolonged falls are just one type of injury mechanism used in emergency medicine.

Pattanafong Huancau / EyeEm / Getty Images

Mechanism of injury, or MOI, refers to the method of injury (injury) to the skin, muscles, organs, and bones. MOIs are used by healthcare providers to determine the likelihood of serious injury.

But the term is not only used by healthcare providers. We all know what it is, even if we don't know what to call it. There is an old joke that goes, "It is not the fall that kills, but the sudden stop at the end." In MOI terms, this is known as a "sudden slowdown."

In addition to falls, other examples of "sudden deceleration" are low speed wing flex in a parking lot and a rollover accident on a highway. It will obviously result in life threatening injuries.

Likewise, we can all imagine that a gunshot wound can lead to serious injuries more than a fist fight.

It is important to remember that MOI is not the same for everyone. Much depends on the physical condition of the person.

A good rule of thumb: For a healthy young adult, a fall from a distance of more than three times the height is considered significant. In contrast, an older person (usually with brittle bones) can be injured by falling off the ground or tripping.

Complications (associated factors)

Not everyone is young and healthy. As we age, our skin becomes softer and our bones more brittle. Sudden slowdowns, such as falls, car accidents, and the like, will affect the very old and very young more than the average healthy young adult.

Differences in factors like age and many others are known as "confounders." For example, heart disease can affect a patient's ability to compensate for shock . Liver or kidney disease can lead to thinning of the blood, which does not clot as well as in people who do not have the disease. Residual weakness from a stroke or other neurological disease can turn into a minor stumble and fall (known as a fall from the floor) into a life-threatening event. This is why falls are so worrisome in older people .

Alcohol and substances

Anything that makes you high, drunk, or a smoker changes your behavior. Brain injuries often cause similar behavioral changes. As a result, it is more difficult to assess the status of a seriously injured patient . Also, alcohol changes the chemistry of the blood, making it thinner and less prone to clotting. Under these circumstances, what would otherwise have been a minor and totally harmless injury, such as a fall from the ground, would become a serious and life-threatening event .

Get the word of drug information

The mechanism of injury is a moving target that varies from person to person. Use your instincts if you can handle a possible emergency. If the incident seems life threatening, you are probably right. If the patient is elderly, pregnant, a baby, sick, drunk, or otherwise suffering and is more anxious than usual, you are probably right. Trust your intuition to take the right action.

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