brand logo

Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(5):1280

to the editor: I would like to thank Dr. Butler and colleagues for the article on post-traumatic stress reactions following motor vehicular trauma.1 Those who work in injury care and/or injury control know that the long-term effects of trauma are often occult and diverse in presentation. The National Center for Healthcare Statistics within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continually reminds us that trauma is the leading cause of death in persons between one and 44 years of age in the United States.2 Dr. Butler's article and the accompanying patient education sheet are timely and needed.

However, I would like to encourage the readers of American Family Physician and Dr. Butler and colleagues to adopt the more acceptable substitutions for the word “accident.” There is a concentrated effort on the part of professionals who care for trauma patients to avoid the word “accident” in their verbal and written communications. More than just a semantic exercise, choosing the words “crash,” “incident,” “collision,” or even “wreck” over “accident” allows one to describe a traumatic event without implying that it occurs serendipitously. Every traffic crash has a cause and effect. Implying that crashes and the subsequent injuries are “luck,” “acts of God” or “accidents” hampers efforts to lower the incidence of injury-related death and disability in the United States. Please consider an editorial review standard that disallows the word “accident” to describe events such as motor vehicle collision that lead to trauma.

Email letter submissions to afplet@aafp.org. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors. Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Letters may be edited to meet style and space requirements.

This series is coordinated by Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, deputy editor.

Continue Reading


More in AFP

Copyright © 2000 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP.  See https://www.aafp.org/about/this-site/permissions.html for copyright questions and/or permission requests.