If you’re an EMT, don’t start lecturing me in front of the patient you just brought in about how she was involved in a “motor vehicle collision” and not a “motor vehicle accident.” I was half joking when I asked you if you meant that she was in a motor vehicle “accident” when she rolled her car in a ditch. Your dissertation about the difference between accidents and collisions afterwards … you aren’t going to win that one.
Unless your patient was in a demolition derby or intentionally ran into another vehicle (which I haven’t seen in 15 years), the wreck was an “accident.” We’ve been using the same terminology for decades. It serves us well. We don’t need to change it.
Yes, in most cases, patients are brought to the emergency department because two vehicles “collide.” So technically, most MVAs are also “collisions.” But what about the rollover that your patient was involved in? What did her vehicle “collide” with? And if a vehicle runs into a ditch before coming to a stop on the other side of the ditch, did it really “collide” with the ditch? Collisions are usually considered a contact between two moving bodies.
I’m also aware of the old argument by “traumatologists” that motor vehicle accidents should be called motor vehicle “crashes” because most fatal crashes are caused by speeding, intoxicated, or distracted drivers, so they shouldn’t be considered “accidents.”
If you want to go all brainiac on me and use the scientific definition of “collision,” then perhaps cars do “collide” with ditches. They also collide with gravel when they’re rolling down a gravel road and I suppose that their tires even collide with the asphalt when they’re driving down the street. So if we’re going to use the scientific definition of “collision,” we probably should use it consistently.
Somehow, the following inbound report, although scientifically proper, just doesn’t work: “the car was colliding on the street asphalt when it collided less frequently with the street at a stop sign and subsequently another vehicle that wasn’t able to collide with the street at the same rate of deceleration accidentally collided with the vehicle in the rear, causing the patient’s shoulder to collide with the seat belt and the patient’s face and upper torso to collide with the air bag.”
Can’t we just agree that the report should be something like “a restrained driver was rear-ended in an MVA with air bag deployment”?
And if you give me an inbound report saying that you’re “en route to your emergency room with a patient who is A and O times four who was involved in a motor vehicle collision and has a low grade fever of 99.1″ … well … let’s just not go there.
Oh, and you left the engine running in your patient transport vehicle.
Why do we call it an “ambulance”, anyway?