KODE Medical Focus: Motorcycle accidents


JOPLIN, Mo. — Traffic wrecks are an unfortunate fact of life.

And when a patient is involved while riding a motorcycle, there’s a unique set of risks and potential injuries.

“They are prone to injuries of their entire body, head, neck, thoracic spine lumbar spine and then of course, chest injuries, abdominal injuries,” says Dr. Ellen Nichols, Neurosurgeon.

And Freeman Neurosurgeon Dr. Ellen Nichols has seen a wide range of those in the operating room.

“What I see are the head injuries, and a lot of surface on injuries so paralysis related to spinal cord injury, the general surgeons see a whole array of chest injuries abdominal injuries. Sometimes they’ll have to be taking the patient immediately to the operating room to try to save that life,” said Dr. Nichols.

When there’s a head injury, there’s a risk of a brain bleed.

“If there’s an actual hemorrhage in their brain. Sometimes we can take pressure off by taking them to surgery and taking that that hemorrhage out. Often we’re monitoring the pressure inside the head because the brain swells inside the skull and that pressure inside the head goes up, but we need to try to prevent that from happening to prevent additional damage, so we’ll put a monitor in to monitor pressure,” said Dr. Nichols.

She adds changes in helmet laws are affecting the severity of injuries they’re seeing.

“If a patient, a person, has a helmet on, they might sustain a brain injury but they’re less likely to die without a helmet, it’s more likely to be a fatality,” said Dr. Nichols.

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