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Air Med J. 2010 Mar-Apr;29(2):58-61. doi: 10.1016/j.amj.2009.12.003.

Thoracic spine injury after a high-speed motor vehicle crash.

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Department of Emergency Medicine at the Albany Medical Center in Albany, NY, USA.


In late October, a hospital-based flight team was activated at 9:30 pm for an approximately 30-year-old man involved in a high-speed motor vehicle crash into a tree. Per emergency medical services (EMS) documentation, flight service was requested for advanced airway management and rapid transport of the patient to a Level 1 trauma center. Ground transport was estimated at 60+ minutes, whereas actual flight time was less than 15 minutes. On the crew's arrival at the designated landing zone, they were escorted to an ambulance where a 100-kg man was immobilized on a stretcher. Because the landing area was at a remote location, the flight team did not witness the scene; however, the ground paramedic reported that the patient was the single-occupant driver of a small sedan. Given the extent of damage to the front and passenger side of the vehicle, it was determined that the patient was driving at a high rate of speed when he struck the tree. He required approximately 20 to 25 minutes of extrication. An empty bottle of zolpidem (Ambien) was found on the floor of the vehicle; the 30-day prescription had been filled approximately a week before the accident occurred.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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