One too many drinks

Every year nearly ten thousand people are arrested over Christmas because they have been caught driving when they are over the legal limit for alcohol. Unfortunately, this can sometimes result in a serious road traffic accident, which may ijure or kill the driver and their passengers, as well as other road users or pedestrians.

When the emergency services first arrive on the scene, the police and fire brigade will ensure the scene is safe whilst the paramedics will assess and treat teh injured. Any of the drivers involved in the incident will as routine have a road side breath test performed to see if they have consumed any alcohol.

The injured are taken to hospital where they will be assessed and treated. If they have had trauma they may need an X-ray or scan to investigate any internal injury. They may even need surgery if their injuries are severe.

However, it is not just doctors and nurses who are involved in the patient’ journey. A number of healthcare professionals and scientists will be involved directly with the care of patients involved in this crash and with the investigation of the crash itself.

If this is an area that interests you, then you could become:

  • chemist or chemical engineer – designing and developing point of care analysers which are used to measure substances at the scene of incidents, e.g. breath testing analyser.
  • road traffic accident investigator – carrying out detailed examinations of the factors that may have caused the accident at the scene.
  • paramedic or doctor – assessing the injured at the scene of the crash before they are transported to hospital.
  • biomedical scientist or clinical scientist – working in blood sciences (biochemistry and haematology) to analyse blood samples which will help to assist in the management of patients.
  • toxicologist or forensic scientist – performing analysis of the driver’s blood and urine to investigate if any drugs or alcohols contributed to the crash.
  • radiographer – assessing if the patients have any internal injuries or fractures, using a variety of methods such as X-rays, ultra-sound, CT-scans and MRI scans.
  • mortuary technician – if there has been a fatality these technicians will be involved in ensuring the body is appropriately stored and prepared for the coroner’s post-mortem.