Drunken driving victims face long recovery

HARLINGEN — Chronic pain. Depression. Broken marriages.

These are some of the devastating results of injuries suffered from a drunken driving accident.

We hear a great deal about drunken driving fatalities, especially during the holidays. Many people won’t drive on New Year’s Eve because of the fear of drunken drivers.

This holiday, only four people were arrested in Harlingen over the past four days for driving while intoxicated, without injuries reported.

Still, thousands of people die nationwide from drunken driving crashes.

But what about those who don’t die? What about survivors who suffer horrible injuries such as head trauma, paralysis and major burns? They may require constant care the rest of their lives.

Lives are ruined on so many levels by drunken driving accidents, said Dr. Michael Mohun, chief of emergency medicine at HarlingenMedicalCenter.

“The problem with drunk driving is the toll it takes on the family,” he said. “This kind of thing can devastate a family.”

People in drunken driving accidents can suffer a broad range of injuries. The specific injury is determined by many factors, said Ginger Cunningham, RN, trauma and stroke program coordinator at HMC.

“It depends on speed, it depends on, did the vehicle roll over, were they wearing seatbelts, were there air bags, did something come through the vehicle’s windshield?” she said.

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