Spinal cord injuries are common result of California plane crash

Spinal cord injuries are common result of California plane crash

Many of the injured aboard the Asiana Airlines flight that recently crash in California experienced severe spinal cord injuries, doctors who treated them have told news media. Including crew members, more than 300 people were aboard the flight that crashed as the pilots attempted to land. Of those, more than 180 people were taken to hospitals for treatment.

Doctors found common threads among their injuries. One doctor says the injuries show how badly patients bounced around when the plane landed. He says that when the plane hit, passengers were pushed up and down, forward and backward. That type of severe whiplash can actually crush vertebrae, he says.

    Some passengers' spinal cords were fractured and hyper-extended. Their injuries will require them to be kept stable to prevent further damage to the spinal cord. In some passengers, the spinous process cracked in half. That's the bone at the back of their necks. One patient may be paralyzed from the waist down, and even patients who do not have patients could become paralyzed. Their ligaments may be stretched and unable to keep the spine stable.

    Some patients had road rash injuries, which surprised one doctor. Another had smoke inhalation injuries, but few burn injuries were reported. Other injuries included, head injuries, internal injuries and bone fractures.

    Doctors say emergency workers prevented more serious injuries because they stabilized passengers on the runway and sent patients with the most severe injuries to hospitals first and stabilized other patients with back boards or cervical collars before sending them to hospitals.

    One piece of good news: Relatively few children received serious injuries. Adults typically received the most severe injuries.

    Source: NBC News, "Spinal fractures a common injury after Asiana plane crash," Maggie Fox, July 7, 2013


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