Author Question: Motor Vehicle Collision 1/2

Susan Asks:

I found your site while I was researching some things for a story I’m writing. I’m not sure I will ever try to get this story published or anything, but I wanted to get all my details as accurate as possible.  
In the story two people are involved in a car accident.

Patient #1: The driver, twenty-three- year-old male. Hits the steering wheel and ruptures his aorta. This character dies.

My questions are

1.  Could he be conscious immediately following this?
2. Would he make it to a hospital about 4 miles away in an ambulance or likely die at the scene?
3. How would he look in the hospital after death (coloring, would they leave his clothing on if he just died)?
4. Would they let his sister see his body?

Jordyn Says:
1. Would he be conscious? Yes, it’s possible but for a very short amount of time following his injury. Your aorta is a very large vessel that comes right off the heart. If it is entirely ruptured—you’ll bleed out in one to two minutes. The quicker the blood loss the sooner unconscious sets it because blood supplies oxygen to the brain and the brain is a very oxygen sensitive organ.
2. This character would likely die at the scene.
3. What you might want to look into is reasons an EMS provider is allowed to call death at the scene. Patients who are obviously dead may not even go to the hospital. Let’s say they do “work” him and bring him to the hospital where he is declared dead shortly after. Likely, his clothes are on with the exception of the care EMS provided. It’s atypical for them to cut off all their clothes like a trauma center will. He’ll be extremely pale with areas of blueness. Livor Mortis begins fairly quickly where the blood will be begin to settle in dependent areas of the body. This looks like bruising. If he lying on this back—it would settle all along his backside.

4. Yes, the sister would be allowed to see his body. Nurses are pretty sensitive to this so they’ll try to make the body as presentable as they can and explain what the sister will see before she views the body.
We’ll tackle Susan’s second patient in the next post.

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