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A Case of Dual Thoracoabdominal Impalement in Vehicular Trauma

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Impalement injuries are relatively uncommon during vehicular trauma. We present a dual case report of patients sustaining simultaneous impalement injuries during a high-speed motor vehicle collision in a rural (austere) environment. After Institutional Review Board approval, we performed a review of the patients' medical records. Two young men were traveling in an automobile at high speed when the driver lost control of the vehicle, causing it to strike a wooden fence. Portions of the fence were dislodged, penetrated the windshield, and impaled both the driver and passenger. Both patients were extricated rapidly and transported to our trauma center. Multidisciplinary teams consisting of trauma, thoracic, plastic, and hepatobiliary surgeons addressed the injuries of both patients. Both survived their injuries and have since returned to their homes. This case of dual impalements highlights three key points: first, the principles of management of thoracoabdominal impalement injuries; second, the importance of rapid action of first responders in complex traumas; and finally, the value of using a multidisciplinary surgical team in complicated trauma cases.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Divisions of Acute Care 2: Cardiothoracic 3: Pediatric 4: Plastic and Reconstructive, and 5: Oncologic Surgery of the Department of Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida; and the 6: Division of Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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