Department of Health 23/03/2020 - 09:00
To avoid head injuries always wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle, whether as a driver or passenger, use an appropriate child safety seat or a booster, and always wear a helmet when on a bicycle, motorcycle or scooter and other open unrestrained vehicles, warned Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital head injury specialists.
This warning comes as the Gauteng Province is gearing up to commemorate World Head Injury Day on Saturday, March 20. A head injury is defined as a devastating condition that causes major psychosocial complications. Many individuals suffer serious brain injuries that are largely viewed as minor, but in reality such injuries may cause devastating impairments that affect lives just as severe injuries.
Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital’s Sister Nicholas Mudau, says head injuries are mostly caused by motor vehicle accidents, sports-related accidents, falls, physical assaults, gunshots wounds, military attacks or bomb blast.
“In most cases we receive patients that have bleeds that needs to be drained immediately. Therefore, we treat head injury as an emergency situation,” said Sister Mudau
A patient with head injury can possibly suffer from seizures, infections, nerve damage, post traumatic hydrocephalus, cognitive disabilities, language difficulties, personality changes, sensory problem, post-concussion syndrome, psychosocial problems, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
“Patients with head Injury need extra care and with the resources that we have, we try our level best to provide the best services to every patient,” said Dr Diana Carvalhal, a registrar at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital’s Trauma Unit.
“The main primary prevention of head injury is education, which is why we have World Head Injury Awareness Day every year. The public needs to be made aware of the causes of head injury; they need to be taught on road safety as it is the main cause,” explained Dr. Carvalhal.
“Once a person is injured, we keep them comfortable, sedated, prevent from them having fits, improve hospital stay, provide oxygen, ventilation and medication as needed.”
“Once patients are discharged, they are taken care by a team of professionals who specialise in the care of trauma victims through rehabilitation. Rehabilitation team involves the medical officer, neuropsychologist, rehabilitation nurse, physiotherapist, the occupational therapist, head injury support group, social worker, speech and language therapist”, concluded Carvalha.
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