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ACEnders
06-02-2008, 11:53 PM
In my story, the MC's sister is in a car wreck. Her husband was driving, and he's not too bad off. But her legs were crushed.

Does anyone know anything about what this could do, worst case scenario? could you lose your legs? Could you never walk again? That's kind of what I want to happen because it would be significant.

Does anyone know medical terms or where I could go for information like this? Anyone know anyone else who's been in this kind of accident?

lakotagirl
06-03-2008, 12:14 AM
I'm not a doctor - and I've never played one on tv. I've never been in a crash like this. But, I would think that it would be highly possible that you would never walk again. However, legs amputated would enable you to get prosthesis. Ain't modern science great!?

alleycat
06-03-2008, 12:18 AM
I'd say make it a "T-crash", one where one car hits the side of the other car (in this case the passenger side). They often occur at stoplights when one car doesn't stop. You can make the medical conditions just about anything you want. The car that crashes into the car carrying the woman could have been going at a high rate of speed, or have been a heavily loaded truck. In that case her legs could very well have been crushed.

ACEnders
06-03-2008, 12:21 AM
I'd say make it a "T-crash", one where one car hits the side of the other car (in this case the passenger side). They often occur at stoplights when one car doesn't stop. You can make the medical conditions just about anything you want. The car that crashes into the car carrying the woman could have been going at a high rate of speed, or have been a heavily loaded truck. In that case her legs could very well have been crushed.

Great idea...thanks!

alleycat
06-03-2008, 12:24 AM
By the way, I've been in a T-crash where the other car was traveling at a high rate of speed. I took out the driver's side window with my head. I also have a scar under my left arm as a memento. At least my legs weren't crushed.

Maryn
06-03-2008, 12:24 AM
My understanding is that when bone, muscle, and nerve is crushed, you don't walk again. But I'm glad to have no direct knowledge.

In general, you can make the results of car crash injuries be exactly what you need them to be to serve your story. There are so many variables that accidents may result in a car's occupants walking away with bruises or in killing everyone--even if they were near-identical accidents.

Maryn, who (alas) does have experience with that

jclarkdawe
06-03-2008, 12:55 AM
Maximum for the seriousness and way beyond what you want is a T-bone into the engine compartment, ripping through right at the A post. Strong potential of removing both legs right above the knee. Patient will bleed out in a matter of minutes and extracation is time consuming.

The question here is what sort of leg function do you want? Do you want your character to be paralyzed or amputation or partial use of legs? I can give you the scenario for each. Different results require that the accident happen in different ways.

Also how much do you want to develop the accident scene?

I was a captain on a volunteer fire department as well as an EMT.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

wickeddj
06-03-2008, 01:00 AM
You can also consider the possibility of her being ejected from the vehicle, or even partially ejected, which could easily result in any kind of spinal injury you need for the scenario.

Joycecwilliams
06-03-2008, 01:11 AM
How about getting your car getting hit by an 18 wheeler... I did that in my WIP.

JoNightshade
06-03-2008, 01:17 AM
Here's something you might consider as well, since people do it so often. My dad knew someone who had her feet propped up on the dash (passenger side) in the car. They got into a wreck - I think they plowed into someone or someone plowed into them - which snapped her body forward. Because her feet were up, it bent her too far and snapped her spine. For the purpose of your story that could result in varying degrees of paralysis, depending on where the break is.

Thinking of that always makes me cringe. And I never put my feet up. :)

chevbrock
06-03-2008, 04:19 PM
Thanks, Jo - I'm never doing that in a car EVER AGAIN.

If you are travelling at any sort of speed, a head-on will probably give you the sort of injury you need for your story. If your character is in an older car without the wisdom of crumple zones and airbags, there's plenty of room in your story to have the engine be moved far enough into the cabin to enable the lower legs to be crushed.

Upper legs crushing may be a bit more difficult. You have the femoral artery there, which, if damaged, will pretty much kill you in a matter of minutes from blood loss (I think Uncle Jim says the same above).

If there is some sort of other significant injury to your character that may be threatening their life, perhaps the rescue crew can opt to actually amputate the legs while the character is still inside the car?

sheadakota
06-03-2008, 04:33 PM
If the blood vessels are crushed and ripped beyond repair- it is likely both legs will need amputaton- sometimes they will try to graft new vessels to restore blood flow, but it will probably be too late- crushed bone cannot be repaired either and if the muscle is crushed as well, then tendons, ligaments and nerves are all going to be destroyed- depending on where along the leg the injury occurs, prosthetics may help the person walk again, buy only after extensive medical and physical therapy- also consider that an accident severe enough to cause such devastating injuries will probably cause severe injuries to other parts of the body as well- pelvis, ribs, chest, or head trama is a probability.

Kalyke
06-03-2008, 04:35 PM
In San Fransisco in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake the Cypress Structure in West Oakland collapsed killing 40, and smashing numerous cars. I recall that they amputated a woman's leg in there because the area was so unstable. Her mangled legs were trapped her the car.

When you google 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake amputation you get a lot of information on field amputations.

Kitty Pryde
06-03-2008, 08:06 PM
If her legs were injured, several things could happen. 1, the legs are badly injured and they don't work very well (nerve damage, control problems, pain issues) but they don't get amputated, they are just bad legs. 2, they can't be saved and they are amputated badly after the injury so that the person is unable to wear prosthetics (yes I know someone in this situation), so they use a wheelchair. Wheelchair users with this type of injury can lead very active lives, and their disability doesn't limit them very much at all. 3, they are amputated well and the person can wear prosthetics. Walking with two prosthetics is totally possible but it is hard work and tough to learn.

If her back was injured, she could become a paraplegic or quadriplegic. A paraplegic has full or partial loss of sensation and intentional movement in her legs. A quad has full or partial loss in the arms and legs. Many quadriplegics can use SOME arm muscles, but not all. These disabilities come with a lot of other health and life concerns that you might consider, including muscle spasms, bowel and bladder concerns, pressure sores, and something called 'autonomic dysreflexia,' which is a pretty high-drama health problem that can occur any time. You can look all this stuff up on wikipedia. one other good site is called Disaboom, they will have loads of medical and first-hand info on paralysis and amputations.

My friend was in a truck at a stoplight and a tree fell on top of the vehicle (there was a windstorm). his friends jumped out the window but he was too tall to escape. The Fire dept showed up to remove the huge tree and use the jaws of life. It was VERY high drama because he was trapped for hours and he lost sensation in his legs. a paramedic told his mother that he would be paralyzed for life. luckily, when they pulled him out, he got feeling back pretty quickly, he had just been trapped in a tight position (bent over, head pressed against the dashboard).

ACEnders
06-06-2008, 09:06 PM
Thanks to everyone for your help!!!



The question here is what sort of leg function do you want? Do you want your character to be paralyzed or amputation or partial use of legs? I can give you the scenario for each. Different results require that the accident happen in different ways.

Also how much do you want to develop the accident scene?

I was a captain on a volunteer fire department as well as an EMT.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

I think that I want her to ... so she rides horses. I think that having prosthetics would be okay. I was thinking below the knee.... The accident scene isn't in the book at all. She's the MC's sister, and the whole book is from the MC's POV. She gets a phone call and rushes to the hospital.

Thanks for your offer to help!

jclarkdawe
06-06-2008, 10:13 PM
If the accident is off scene, then do something like, "She was in an accident. T-boned. Took off her leg." You really don't need to develop anything more.

Sounds more like your issues are going to be hospital and rehab time. Any amputation takes time and bilateral amputations are even worse. People can ride horses with bilateral above-the-knee amputations.

So the question is what does your book need?

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

StephanieFox
06-06-2008, 10:17 PM
A friend from another board had this happen to her. She lost one leg and is in a wheelchair. She just got back from months in the hospital and more months in rehab. I hesitate to contact her about this because this is just a bulldog message board friend, and I don't know her that well.

HeronW
06-07-2008, 02:44 AM
T-boning head-on into a tree or pole will pretty much move the engine area into the dashboard and atop the legs. Anything from massive crush injuries to amputation can happen--with enough pressure/tamponade that the bloodflow is slowed so the person doesn't bleed to death. 65 mph unbelted crash can do this in about 7/10ths of a second.

A rollover with or without being thrown from the vehicle can do this too--depending on where the person was sitting, where they landed, what was loose in the vehicle.

A multi-car pileup due to heavy fog can cause assorted injuries as originally hit cars are hit repeatedly by oncoming traffic.

Tsu Dho Nimh
06-07-2008, 11:48 PM
In my story, the MC's sister is in a car wreck. Her husband was driving, and he's not too bad off. But her legs were crushed.

Does anyone know anything about what this could do, worst case scenario? could you lose your legs? Could you never walk again? That's kind of what I want to happen because it would be significant.

Does anyone know medical terms or where I could go for information like this? Anyone know anyone else who's been in this kind of accident?

Crush injuries usually mean amputation ... the amount of tissue damage varies. It can also screwup your kidneys from all the cell death.

If you want just her to never walk again, damage the spinal cord down by the hips, or the nerves leading to the leg muscles. She'll be a "paraplegic".

jennifer75
06-10-2008, 01:44 AM
In my story, the MC's sister is in a car wreck. Her husband was driving, and he's not too bad off. But her legs were crushed.

Does anyone know anything about what this could do, worst case scenario? could you lose your legs? Could you never walk again? That's kind of what I want to happen because it would be significant.

Does anyone know medical terms or where I could go for information like this? Anyone know anyone else who's been in this kind of accident?
A friends brother was involved in a head-on collision on the freeway, so high speed was definitely a factor, he broke one leg and has recovered fine.