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The annual BASICS Conference was held in late September and was to be “A three day, in depth analysis into pre-hospital aspects of accidents, incidents, and disasters” Such a title has to be a challenge from the start; so how did it do?
Friday morning set out to look at the mechanisms of injury to the occupants in a car crash and started with a profound dose of pure physics. While some of this was over the heads of many of us, it was certainly stimulating. We all came away with the knowledge that crashes are not good, airbags may be a real problem, and luck plays a large part as the vehicle can only obey Newton’s Laws (remember those). This powerful start was followed by several lectures talking about the first, second, and third impacts, all of which were most interesting but the bottom line was spoken to by Keith Porter in an elegant and factual lecture on the consequences particularly of the second impact—the point at which we inevitably enter the picture.
There was then a serious debate from Len Watson about the data surrounding airbags and the concern that they may contribute in some cases to morbidity and even mortality. The safety feature in steering columns does allow the column to collapse on impact but in doing so causes the steering wheel to rise towards the roof of the car and, combined with the airbag exploding, may cause contact between the roof of the vehicle and the driver’s head. While this does give some food for thought, it seems that the statistics in driver deaths have not changed significantly since airbags were introduced but it is accepted that steering wheel injury has reduced dramatically.
To complete a heavy first day, patient monitoring and the collection of medical …