Medical technology can be defined as the application of science to develop solutions to health problems or issues, such as the prevention or delay of onset of diseases or the promotion and monitoring of good health. Examples of medical technology include medical and surgical procedures (angioplasty, joint replacements, organ transplants), diagnostic tests (laboratory tests, biopsies, imaging), drugs (biologic agents, pharmaceuticals, vaccines), medical devices (implantable defibrillators, stents), prosthetics (artificial body parts), and new support systems (electronic medical records, e-prescribing, and telemedicine).

Many medical technologies are constantly being developed and improved based on the feedback of medical practitioners and their patients. There are an estimated 500,000 medical technologies currently available all of which share a common purpose to improve and extend peoples’ lives.

Many medical technologies are simple to use but the more complicated ones require training and formal education. Medical specialists such as radiation oncologists, medical geneticists, and surgical subspecialists, as well as allied and support professions such as medical sonographers, radiation technologists, and laboratory technicians, have all been created to use specific types of technology.

For example if someone is involved in a car accident the emergency medical technician responding to the scene of the accident will use some medical technologies to help the victim. This may include bandages, stretchers, neck stabilizers, splints, IV fluids and others items depending on the patient’s needs. The treatment is just preliminary as the patient is brought to the hospital; the technician continues to monitor the patient’s health status. The hospital has more sophisticated medical technology that can properly assess the patient’s condition. This includes x-ray machines, MRI, and other devices and medical tests that will the doctor the full condition of the injured person. Once the doctor has established the condition of the patient, he can now prescribe the appropriate medication and treatment. Moreover, the doctor can also decide together with other medical experts to prescribe certain therapy for the patient’s full recovery.

To understand how a certain technology helps a patient, we are going to evaluate how each technology can help individuals.

Abdominal trauma:

After a serious accident, such as a car crash or a fall, internal bleeding from injured abdominal organs is often the most serious threat to survival. Many times, neither the injuries nor the bleeding are immediately apparent. Ultrasounds are very useful as an initial scan when abdominal trauma is suspected, due to the fact it can be used to pinpoint the location, cause, severity, or  site of hemorrhaging. In the case of puncture wounds (from a bullet for example) ultrasounds can locate the foreign object and provide a preliminary survey of the damage. The easy portability and versatility of ultrasound technology has brought it into common emergency room use, and even into limited ambulance service.

Head Injury:

The full extent of a head injury may not be completely understood immediately after the injury, but may be revealed with a comprehensive medical evaluation and diagnostic testing. The diagnosis of a head injury is made with a physical examination and diagnostic tests. During the examination, the physician obtains a complete medical history of the patient and family and asks how the injury occurred. Trauma to the head can cause neurological problems and may require further medical follow ups. Diagnostic tests may include:

  1. Blood tests
  2. X-ray: a diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
  3. Computed tomography scan (Also called a CT or CAT scan): a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
  4. Electroencephalogram (EEG) : a procedure that records the brain’s continuous, electrical activity by means of electrodes attached to the scalp.
  5. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) : a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

Brain Injury:

The most common signs and symptoms of brain injury include lowered concentration, trouble reading, mental slowness and sleep disorders. Often vision is just out of focus, with sudden loss of reading speed, comprehension, comfort and  depth perception becoming dramatically worsened. Getting poor sleep because of sore muscles from whiplash injuries makes the effects of any mild brain injury much worse.

Loss of mobility:

Assistive devices and prosthetics will come in handy if there is loss of function or loss of limb. It is possible that the patient’s lower extremities may have sustained a fracture, sprain, deep wound, painful bruise, and other injuries that may stop the mobility of the user. Assistive devices such as walking canes, wheel chaisr, crutches and others can be used to support or help the patient move around. In cases wherein there is amputation of a leg or arm as a result of the accident, there are prosthetics that the patient can used to regain semblance of what used to be. Most researchers have developed the prosthetic technology, helping the user experience large amounts of comfort using their prosethic.

Research and Development teams around the world continue to study and design technologies that will help patients recover from the injuries sustained in an accident. One that still in the works is a new generation prosthetic called 3D-printed nose and ear replacements for accident victims and people with facial disfigurements. Another emerging technology called anti-bleeding gel is touted to instantly seal a wound and start the clotting process. According to the product designer, the anti-bleeding gel creates a synthetic framework that mimics the extracellular matrix, al substance that helps cells in the body grow together.

Another direction that is being look into is the reproduction of human tissue outside the body. The technology is dubbed as “artificial cell mimicry” and aims to create spare parts to replace body or organs damaged in an accident, disease or injury.

It is clear that technologies are here to help people deal with the aftermath of an accident. Christensen & Hymas believes that the best approach would still be applying responsible driving behavior to protect ourselves and the people around us. Avoid driving distraction and impairments and obey all traffic rules.

You may call Christensen & Hymas at (801)-506-0800 for a free initial consultation. Competent personal injury lawyers are available to help you go through a claim process. You deserve to be compensated if your injuries resulted from the reckless and negligent driving behavior of another.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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