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Trauma (from the Greek word for "wound") describes any condition caused by the application of force to any part of the body, such as a blow, fall, gunshot, stab wound or other outside force, including forces applied by the patient, such as might be suffered by an athlete in competition. Many trauma injuries are not serious, but all tend to cause symptoms such as internal bleeding, external bleeding, torn muscles, stretched ligaments and compressed joints. Serious trauma can result in broken bones, torn ligaments, shattered joints, torn muscles, severed nerves and damage to the internal organs of the body, such as the brain, liver, kidneys, stomach, intestines and spleen. Serious trauma usually requires immediate medical attention as the patient may go into shock as the result of pain and blood loss.
Emergency room personnel are typically trained to deal with traumatic injuries and the effects of blood loss and shock. As such, Dr. House's team rarely deals with traumatic injuries, although House himself suffered one in the episode No Reason.
Patients who are insensitive to pain, such as paraplegics and quadriplegics are often in danger due to the effects of traumatic injury as they cannot feel the pain of such injury. As such, even the chance of trauma is enough to bring such patients to the emergency room.
The lack of external bleeding can often mislead medical personnel into believing that the trauma suffered was minor. However, internal bleeding is a much more serious condition and may not manifest itself as bruising until the patient is seriously ill.