Most people hope and expect to live long and healthy lives that are free of serious illness or accidents. However, it is a fact that accidents and ill health can affect anyone at any stage of their lives. For example, it is estimated that every year, 1.3 million people die as a result of serious car accidents. These unfortunate victims will have almost certainly received emergency medical attention but will have sustained injuries that were not compatible with life. Thankfully, modern healthcare systems can be instrumental in the recovery of even critically ill patients, and certain medical conditions that once inevitably resulted in death now may not do so. This article describes three specific serious illnesses or medical problems that can result in a direct threat to the individual’s continued life, and how the healthcare system effectively treats them.
Only a few generations ago, having a heart attack would often result in the death of a person. Heart attacks can occur because of a wide range of medical conditions, or after severe trauma, and involve the person’s heart beating irregularly. If left untreated, the patient can go into cardiac arrest and death may follow. Today, thanks to significant improvements in treating this condition, around 90% of people who experience a heart attack survive. Recent developments in pre-hospital care, such as the abundance of public automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public areas, have meant that life-saving care can take place with public assistance promptly. In addition, many patients who have experienced a heart attack as the result of blockages in the blood vessels may receive thrombolysis treatment, which effectively dissolves the blockage and allows the heart to beat normally again.
Falls in the Elderly
For the elderly, experiencing a fall can become a life-threatening emergency. The bones and muscles of senior citizens are often weaker in later life and a fall can result in fractures and severe medical complications. When the elderly experience a serious fall, they will often be transferred to a specialist trauma centre or fracture clinic. An MRI scan is commonly undertaken to ascertain the scope of the injuries and indicate other treatments that may be required. Elderly people who fall regularly may find that they can no longer remain in their own homes safely, and as a result, may benefit from moving to an assisted living home, such as assisted living in Brentwood. At these facilities, they can receive a range of medical and social assistance that allows them to live safely, with reduced likelihood of falling, thanks to mobility aids and equipment, such as safety rails.
Many cancer patients go on to lead long and fulfilling lives and may even enter remission from the illness as a direct result of modern medical treatments. Depending on the size and nature of cancer, treatment options include surgery to remove the growth, chemotherapy to reduce the size of tumors, or radiotherapy to target specific cancers. Whilst certain forms of cancer, such as pancreatic cancer, still have high mortality rates associated with them, generally, if the cancer is identified and treated quickly, patients have the best chance of making a long-term recovery.