I'm including a scene near the beginning of my novel that involves a small car accident. The character was not the driver, but in the accident, she received a concussion, though little else in the way of injuries. Honestly, the concussion is my goal; anything else injury-related is just going to be what turns out the most normal or logical for that situation. The trouble is, my google research on the subject isn't turning out very well because I can't quite figure out how to word my questions correctly to turn up the right results.

So, my question is this: What are the basic hospital procedures for dealing with concussions in car accident victims? I've figured out that she'll most likely be riding to the hospital in the ambulance, but I don't know much of anything beyond that. Like, how long does someone in her situation remain in the hospital? What medications and such would she be given? What tests and such would need to be run? I literally don't know much at all about what happens from when they arrive on the scene to when she is released from the hospital. It's a blank for me, and my google research has been frustrating me about the subject, so I figured it would be better to ask people, instead.

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    Hi, and welcome to Writers. This is a "what to write" question, which is off-topic for us. We don't handle story detail research. Your best bet is to contact a hospital and ask medical professionals. To see what Stack Exchange is and what kinds of questions we handle, please take our tour and see our help center. writers.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic Jul 9, 2017 at 0:30
  • You can just look this up on google. Jul 9, 2017 at 5:20
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    I have asked the askanexpert.expert before. Some of the experts in the medicine area are willing to help out writers while others not so quite. Look around before you choose the right expert. Jul 9, 2017 at 8:10
  • Unfortunately, we aren't exactly experts in the medical field either, and we would be doing what you were doing ourselves. Try calling or visiting your local clinic/hospital. Let them know you are doing research for a book you are writing that contains a scene where you need to know general procedures for this injury. Also, is it necessary for you to have the entire process detailed out? Many people would not understand medical jargon and your research may end up being for nothing. Depending on your POV, it may also be noted that losing consciousness is a part of the injury.
    – ggiaquin16
    Jul 10, 2017 at 17:11
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    I don't think that this is a "what to write" question, but it is a research question. The community is currently not in agreement about whether or not these are on-topic. If this gets closed/placed on hold, please feel free to start a thread on meta about it. Jul 10, 2017 at 18:39

2 Answers 2


I am answering this because finding medical information may be of help to others: Look at public medicine sites and enter the condition in their search engines specifically. For example, go to patient.co.uk and type in 'concussion'. There is a great deal of information available. Many countries have similar sites. There are also sites run by private companies.


You may want to consider, How real do I want to make it?

There is a great deal of debate right now in concussions which is probably why you're not getting straight answers from medical blog sites. In particular, post-concussive syndromes are being taken with grave concern in American sports, but when I was a kid, it just meant you got your bell rung.

From a fiction perspective, head injuries are often used to create lost memories which are later recovered. This is not the way it happens, and is terribly pedantic, but writers do it anyway and sometimes successfully.

Are you aiming for Michael Creighton? He was an MD. Good luck. Also, the quality and theory behind legitimate medical care will vary widely from country to country and even among socioeconomic classes within the same community.

Basically it looks like this:

1) EMTs: Are you hurt? Are you bleeding? Do you know where you are? etc. They'll take vital signs. They might place the patient on a backboard for transportation, but it kind of depends on the condition they find the victim in: prone on the back versus walking around with hands on head.

2) At the hospital, the same questions will get asked. A secondary exam should include a head-to-toe inspection for injuries, and then the patient will go to a CT scanner to look for blood or swelling in the brain or cracks in the skull.

3) If the CT scan shows no obvious damage, the patient will be discharged with some instructions and probably set up to see a neurologist as an outpatient.

4) If there is obvious damage, a neurologist and neurosurgeon will be called immediately, and the patient will go to a brain injury unit following a corrective procedure.

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