For decades, the absolute priority when rescuing victims after traffic accidents has been to minimise movement of the spine. Emergency services go to great lengths to keep the patient still while they are cut free from the wreckage, because a shift of just a millimetre could potentially lead to the person needing to use a wheelchair. Or at least, that’s what firefighters used to think. Now, thanks to new research using simulated accident rescues, that wisdom is starting to change.
Anand Jagatia speaks to the Guardian’s science correspondent, Linda Geddes, and emergency medicine consultant Dr Tim Nutbeam about the findings, and what they mean for survivors of motor vehicle collisions.