Broken Arms – Personal Injuries on Cruise Ships
One of the most frequent injuries our law firm investigates on behalf of injured passengers aboard cruise ships are broken arms, especially the humerus bone. Humerus fractures can are classified by the location of where the bone is fractured:
Since 1991 we have assisted numerous passengers who have broken their arms on cruise ships. Most of the time the injury is a result of the passenger slipping on a wet deck or floor or most commonly tripping over the multiple raised thresholds that for some reason are found all over cruise ships, from balconies, interior cabin bathrooms, and separating different areas of the ship such as hallways, casinos and theatres.
Depending on how severe and where the break occurs there are a number of ways a broken arm (humerus) can be treated.
Non Operative Treatment
Depending on the stability of the break, an injured passenger who can move his or her arm without pain may opt for a non-surgical alternative. This determination is best made by a competent upper extremity orthopedic surgeon and not the ship’s onboard physician. A fluoroscopic exam is commonly used to determine how much motion there is between the shaft and the bone fragment(s) and whether or not there is the soft tissue surrounded the bone is still intact.
Surgical Reduction of a Humeral Neck Fracture
Surgical reduction is often needed if the broken bone is displaced or is no longer in alignment. This usually occurs when a bone has broken into two or more pieces. This type of injury tends to be very painful and often leads to other kinds of damage in the body due to the fragmented bone edges.
To repair a displaced humeral head fracture, the orthopedic surgeon often has to literally nail and plate the bones together (lateral plating) or fix the bones together using wires and screws (screw tension)
Each Personal Injury on Cruise Ship Case is Unique
Until one can be examined by a competent and preferably Board Certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in upper extremity or arm injuries-it is advisable to immobilize the arm with a sling.
We understand that people hurt on cruises sometimes have no alternative and must be treated by the ship’s doctor or one in a foreign port. Some foreign ports, even in third world countries have competent care-but if possible, and with a doctor’s consent it may be best to fly immediately back to the United States or other first world country before undergoing surgery. Each situation is different and you should consult with a physician before deciding what is best for you.