de Ruh (de_ruh) wrote in little_details,
de Ruh

Accuracy of injuries & chemical health hazard question

Alright, this is technically a re-post, but none of the answers to my previous thread answered the medical questions. Thanks again to those who helped with cultural tweaks for my story, though!

Settings: Norway, 1970s & 1980s, and Canada, "now"

Search terms: broken leg permanent damage, shattered leg permanent damage, shattered tibia, comminuted tibia, compartment syndrome, broken arm nerve damage, fractured radius nerve damage, leg brace, leg orthosis, arm brace, arm orthosis, fume exposure immune damage, chemical exposure immune damage.

In my character's back story he is involved in 2 serious car accidents. In the first, he is the only survivor, and is miraculously unhurt physically except for a concussion, but he is exposed to fumes from some sort of chemical that leave him immune-compromised in some way for several years. This one occurs in the 1970s in Norway, and involves at least 2 average family cars and 1 large transport truck.
Question #1: What was in that truck? I need a chemical that would cause long-term but not permanent health problems for a child (8 years old) that would reasonably be transported through Hedmark, Norway in the 1970s. It can be flammable but not highly explosive.

The 2nd car accident happens when he's 18. He's in the back seat of a car on the driver's side of the vehicle. The car he's in is reversing out of a parking stall when another car, going way too fast for a parkinglot, t-bones the car my character is in, colliding with his door. Injuries: severely broken left leg (comminuted tibia & fibula), broken left arm, broken door/window pieces to the left side of the head. No brain injuries, fortunately, but significant scarring to the left side of his face.

In treatment of the leg he suffered compartment syndrom which resulted in some muscle death of the calf area. Soft tissue damage included damage to the peroneal nerve, resulting in drop foot, and also aggravated an old (unrelated) injury to the knee. 20 years later he walks with a leg brace. The brace helps correct the drop foot, keeps his knee tracking correctly, and, to some extent, "supports" his weakened lower leg. He can walk without the brace, but he's quite unsteady. Question #2: Is this reasonable?

The broken arm was a break to the humerus, resulting in damage to the radial nerve. I know that this is possible, and that some patients use a brace on their lower arm permanently after recovering from this type of injury. I would assume that this is more of a strictly supportive brace like the ones worn for tendinitis. Question #2: How likely is it that he wears a arm brace, and if he does, what kind of brace is it? What can he do/not do with his left arm/hand?

Thanks in advance!
Tags: ~car accidents, ~medicine: illnesses (misc), ~medicine: injuries (misc), ~medicine: injuries: broken bones, ~medicine: poisoning
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