More stupid questions - hospitalization after car crash

Another one of those ‘I’m writing a story’ questions.

My protagonist, Camille, wakes up in the hospital after being in a car crash. I, however, haven’t been in a hospital since I was a wee tiny munchkin. So…

What’s it like being stuck in a hospital room, besides boring?
If she was in a car crash, what are some usual injuries? Her car is totalled, that’s all I know.
She has access to magic healing tech, if she can get home. I know you’re allowed to leave at any time, but how does that work?

At the moment, in story it’s about 1:30 and her husband will be by once he gets off work.

Thanks y’all.

Too many variables. People have walked away from horrific accidents in which the vehicle(s) involved are bits of metal, plastics, glass and rubber. At the same time, others have died in simple accidents where the vehicular damage is minimal.

Head, neck, and back injuries are the most common. Skull fracture, concussion, whiplash, pinched nerves, broken ribs, broken vertebra, and/or punctured lung wouldn’t be unexpected. There may be a lot of lacerations due to broken glass and twisted metal.

Depends. Head-on collission, glancing angle, T-bone crash, rear-ended? Big truck taking off roof, Semi rolls over onto vehicle, etc? Crush legs due to collapsed lower body from engine compartment, or broken rib, arm, crushed ribs, various interal injuries from side crash? not to mention the whiplash and spinal cord injuries.

My favourite story (not sure if this happens?) is broken nose from the airbag going off.

She never saw the truck t-bone her Camry on the driver-side door but, luckily, at that very minute she was reaching in her bag for her cell phone and absorbed most of the impact on her ass. Nothing broken but a deep bone bruise to her left thigh, making it painful to walk.

Thanks, that helps as far as injuries. I had written that she’s been unconscious for about 12 hours. She just needs to be able get in her husband’s car at some point. Since I’m a jerk, the worse the injuries the better.

Anybody want to give some pointers for interactions with the hospital staff?

“…once he gets off work”? Is he blasé about his wife being in a car crash? :confused:

It’s my understanding that being knocked unconscious after an impact would imply some degree of brain damage. Contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, people aren’t simply knocked out from a blow to the head and then wake up later with no lasting ill effects. If your character is knocked unconscious and stays out for 12 hours, the hospital is going to insist on doing all sorts of monitoring and testing to make sure she doesn’t have some hind of horrible hidden brain damage as a result of the crash.

If you want full on unconsious for several hours, you’ve got a problem. That kind of blow to the head is likely to be catatrosphic. You might be better off with waking up after surgery, say a concussion with a splenic laceration, or give her anterograde amnesia; awake, seemingly lucid, but not forming new memories. Pts like that will ask how they got to the hospital every 2 min for hours sometimes before they start making longterm memories again.

It’s a mistake to think you can leave anytime you want. The hospital has a legal obligation to protect people from harming themselves when their judgement is impaired. I’ve restrained many people with altered mental status.

Exactly. IANAHCP, but at a minimum, I’d expect that she’d be getting non-invasive tests (x-rays, MRI, etc.), and would be hooked up to monitoring equipment. I would imagine that she’d not be just lying by herself in a hospital room; she’d spend a good chunk of that time in the E/R, as the doctors and nurses treat her for her injuries.

He followed the ambulance to the hospital. There wasn’t much he could do and they need the money, so after she was checked in and stuff he went to work.

Well, all I’ve written is that she woke up in the hospital and that she doesn’t remember much of the crash besides the noise. Whether drugged, asleep, or what doesn’t much matter specifically.

How recovered would she need to be for the hospital to let her husband take her home and supposedly to another doctor?

As mentioned, car crash injuries can be almost anything. I think you should ask yourself what the narrative or thematic purpose of her injuries is, and work backwards from there. Decide what condition the story needs her to be in (can’t walk? trouble thinking? cut up? whatever), then search for descriptions of such, so you can figure out how it happened and how a hospital would realistically handle that.

Is this why are you writing about a car crash–to give her injuries to be healed, to demonstrate this magic healing? If so, does it really need to be a car crash?

Depends on the injury. With a concussion leaving the pt repetitive for 2 hours, stable vital signs and a neg CT of the head, her husband will be able to take her without a problem. If she has significant injuries that require another doctor, they’ll generally want to send the pt by ambulance. Where I work, a smaller hosp, it’s common for us to send a pt by private vehicle for certain specialies we don’t have in-house. I’ve discharged people to be taken to an oral or plastic surgeons office, to be transported to a hosp that admits pediatrics, or has a specialty orthopedic surgeon. In each case, the pt was lucid, hemodynamically stable, and without respiratory compromise.

If your goal is for the pt to have life or limb threatening injuries that could be treated by a hospital, but are better dealt with by her magic juice, then you’ll need to smuggle the juice in, smuggle the pt out, or bring a lawyer.

Okay, so I’ll figure out the injuries. Any ideas for interactions with the hospital staff and passing time until she leaves?

I could very well be wrong, but I believe that if a person is of sound mind and not a danger to others, the hospital cannot legally prevent him from leaving. They may require signing a document that they left against medical advice and that the hospital is not responsible if things don’t go too well. It’s not a prison.

After my then 10 year old daughter had her appendix out the doctor was slow about releasing her. It had been 3 days and she was doing just fine, not receiving any actual treatment. The MD had not been in to see her for over a day. I told them I was taking her home unless somebody gave me a damn good reason why I shouldn’t. They couldn’t, and I did.

Are you simply asking people to write your story for you?

Well’s sure, that’s what I said. But people don’t get to decide for themselves that they’re of sound mind.

  1. Give your character a goal. Give any character she’s going to interact with a goal. It’s nice (for the purposes of fiction I mean!) if these goals are in opposition to each other.

  2. Give her an obstacle. (Example: Her goal is, she wants to get out of the bed so she can put her clothes on and go home. The obstacle is Big Nurse, who won’t help her get up, and she’s too woozy to do it by herself.)

  3. Disaster, i.e., failure. She can’t do it. Big Nurse wins.

  4. Reaction: How does she feel about this?

  5. Dilemma: She needs another plan, but there are no good options. (Maybe she has the choice between getting up and woozily making her way out of the room, in which case she may not make it. Or she could call somebody, but give her a reason not to want to do this, either; in other words, she doesn’t really want to do either thing. But she does want to get out of that bed and out of that hospital!)

  6. Decision: She picks one of the options, even though not ideal.

She should inch towards her goal–three steps forward, two steps back. Describe her reactions. They go thusly: (a) feeling (“she felt woozy”) (b) reflex (“she grabbed for something to hold onto, unfortunately it turned out to be the rolling table next to the bed and it rolled away…”) © rational action/speech (“This wasn’t working! How would she get out of here?” And another sequence for example: “Sprawled between the rolling table and the bed, she heard the footsteps of the nurse. She tumbled back into the bed, hoping her escape attempt wouldn’t be noticed. If the nurse came in and said, 'And how are we feeling today,” she thought she might scream."

Wow, 3 days. Back in the old days, it was 2 weeks (with nothing to eat or drink) before I was strong enough to get out of bed. I waited until visiting hours, put on my clothes and walked out.

Sounds like it.