Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 227-230

Difficulties in the management of impalement injuries sustained in rural India

Department of Surgery, Goa Medical College, Bambolim, Goa, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Radhikaraj Coimbatore Govindaraju
Department of Surgery, Goa Medical College, Bambolim - 403 202, Goa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JETS.JETS_163_19

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Impalement injury is said to occur when a blunt force causes a long object to penetrate a body part resulting in retention of the object in situ. We report two unusual cases of impalement from rural India: one, chest impalement by a hunting spear and the other, an extremity impalement by a rotatory tiller blade. Thoracic impalement injuries are very rare, and there is only one other published report of chest impalement by a spear (trident) in the modern era. There are only two published reports of extremity impalement by a rotatory tiller blade. We also describe the difficulties encountered in their management. Patient-1 sustained accidental impalement to the right hemithorax by a spear used for hunting wild boars, leaving a meter long shaft protruding from his body. This necessitated his transfer to the hospital on the cargo bay of a pickup truck and also precluded complete radiological investigations before surgery. In addition, the reversed barbed tip of the spear made the extraction difficult. Patient-2 sustained impalement through the right knee by a rotatory tiller blade which bound him to the machine. The blade had to be disconnected from the shank assembly of the tiller to extricate him. Due to the proximity of the blade to the popliteal vessels, vascular control was necessary before extraction. Both the patients took several hours to reach the hospital as the accident occurred in remote rural areas. However, both had a successful outcome after surgical removal of the impaled object by a multidisciplinary involvement. We also have reviewed the published literature and given our suggestions for the management of these unusual and difficult injuries.

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