Facing an Orthopedic Emergency During Covid-19?
An Orthopedic emergency is a situation when one injures their soft tissues or bones that demand instant medical attention in order to combat serious consequences like aggravated trauma or may harm the body to an extent. You could be in a state of Orthopedic emergency due to acute injuries, such as dislocations, fractures, concussions, or tendon ruptures. Anyone facing prolonged difficulties or encountering a serious joint or soft tissue injury might be in need of emergency Orthopedic care.
Some complications like blood clots, infection, swelling, or re-injury post-surgery or due to an existing bone issue also fall under the orthopedic emergency category. Learn how one can prepare for an orthopedic emergency, primarily during these trying times of the pandemic.
Understand an Orthopedic emergency
It is important to confirm if the situation you are in calls for an emergency. Below are a few conditions that can help understand the need for emergency Orthopedic care:
- A broken bone
- Concussion symptoms like memory loss, blackouts, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting when you hit your head.
- Misalignment of your limb or joint after an injury, fall, or accident
- Unexpected bleeding from your wound post an Orthopedic surgery
- Joint infection symptoms like fever, swollen joints, pain and chills.
- Sudden pain in the groin area or thigh in patients having osteoporosis
- Chest pain, cough, or shortness of breath after fracture repair or joint replacement surgery
- Sudden calf pain after lower-body Orthopedic surgery – could be deep vein thrombosis (a condition of a blood clot in the leg that moves up to the lungs)
- Aggravation of pain in the twisted limb after an Orthopedic surgery
- Swelling, numb toes or fingers in people wearing a cast – could be cast compression syndrome
- Severe back pain, difficulty while urinating, and weakness in the legs after a spinal surgery
- Swelling around the fracture repair site
In case of the above-mentioned scenarios, you must call your Orthopedic surgeon or book an appointment for emergency care. In most of these conditions, same-day Orthopedic consultation is recommended.
How are Orthopedic surgeons preparing for emergency cases?
As a patient, one should be well aware of the measures that medical facilities and Orthopedic surgeons are ensuring for patient safety especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To start with, various patients might be facing delayed Orthopedic care as hospital beds and medical staff from most departments are treating Covid patients. Despite the grave medical emergency, Orthopedic surgeons are making time for the patients in dire need of emergency care.
- When a patient calls the doctor, they would be first up for a telephonic screening to know the severity of their condition. If surgery or immediate Orthopedic treatment is required, an appointment with the Orthopedic surgeon is booked.
- After a video conference or in-person consultation (under complete supervision and precautions) will allow for the creation of a treatment plan. In case of an injury, the patient must reach the hospital in time.
- Before a surgical procedure, the doctor carries out a covid test three days before the surgery date. The patient must stay in home quarantine or self-isolation until the scheduled date of surgery.
- The surgeon also notes the patient’s travel history, health conditions, and body temperature.
- No visitors are allowed with the patient, ensuring there are fewer people in and around the operation theatre.
- In case a patient needs a caretaker, they must undergo the Covid screening process.
- Limited medical staff in the OPD.
- In between the emergency consultation and surgery date, online pre-operation sessions are provided by the Orthopedic team to prepare patients for the surgery and recovery process.
In a Nutshell
Encountering an Orthopedic emergency is the last thing patients want to deal with right now amidst the pandemic. However, understanding what accounts for that one emergency call to an Orthopedic surgeon, and also how they are taking care of the emergency consultation will make them better prepared for the situation at hand.
- Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/orthopedic-surgery/home/orc-20126749
- Broken Leg, WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/broken-leg
- Orthopaedic Surgery, Johns Hopkins: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/orthopaedic-surgery/index.html
- First Aid for Broken Bones and Fractures, Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/first-aid/broken-bones