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Injury Prevention and Safety

Fell and hit head

12/06/2005

Question:

A week ago, my boyfriend fell out of the back of a truck and hit the left side of his head. He doesn`t remember what happened. Now he has bumps on his head, some feel like there`s fluid in them. He also has two black eyes and his head feels like it`s pounding. He doesn`t want to go the emergency room/hospital (he has no health insurance). Should I worry? Is this something that needs to be checked out or will it heal itself with time? Should he self-medicate with aspirin or advil? Thank you.

Answer:

Your boyfriend is fortunate to have a concerned woman in his life. Yes, you should be concerned about his ongoing symptoms that suggest that he suffered a significant concussion from his fall. It is impossible to know if he has depressed skull fractures under the fluid-filled bumps without at least a skull X-ray but preferably a CT scan. He is at risk for having had some level of internal bleeding with his black eyes. The bounding headaches also suggest that the damage was significant.

It is true that amnesia for the actual accident can be long-lasting and that headaches may persist for some time. What is most concerning to me is that he is describing pounding headaches rather than a persistent dull ache. He should avoid the use of aspirin. Extra-strength acetaminophen would be a safer choice than aspirin because aspirin prolongs bleeding and prevents clotting.

I strongly recommend that he see a physician as soon as possible.

 

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University