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Many times after a car accident, it can be hard to detect all of a patient's injuries. In some cases accident victims come to the emergency room feeling little to no pain. But that doesn't mean problems can't crop up later, particularly in the case of brain injuries. Because these injuries can be difficult to pinpoint, many patients are given cranial computed tomography, or CT scans.

How do emergency room doctors determine whether a patient should receive a CT scan? That was one of the many questions raised in a study by a professor from the University of California Davis. The study, which was published this month in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found that children with minor blunt head trauma are much less likely to receive a CT scan during an emergency room visit than nonminority children with the same risk.

Minor head trauma carries a low to intermediate risk of "clinically important" traumatic brain injury, according to the study, which examined the connection between race and CT use at hospitals using data from almost 40,000 cases of children who were seen within 24 hours of their injury. The children were white non-Hispanic, black-non-Hispanic or Hispanic. The severity of the children's injuries were described using a previously validated means of classifying each child's risk of TBI.


When someone suffers a serious injury, like a brain injury, it is extremely important for them to get the medical attention they need. Often there are serious complications that cannot be seen by the naked eye. A brain injury victim needs the expertise of medical professionals in trauma centers.

But a recent study shows that many Americans are too far from trauma centers. While emergency rooms are beneficial for victims of a number of different injuries, many ERs are not equipped to deal with more complex injuries. What does that mean?

This could mean that victims of severe injuries have a greater risk of suffering permanent damage or even death. Experts in the field believe that the faster a victim can get the right medical help, the better chances they have of surviving.

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