As the anxiety surrounding the immediate aftermath of an accident fades, the residual effects of internal injuries start to manifest. A punctured or collapsed lung is one injury that may not be immediately apparent. Blunt force trauma to the chest can happen when a person’s body strikes an object, such as the dashboard or steering wheel. Or it may even be the result of the seatbelt putting excessive pressure on the chest.
This can cause different types of internal injuries, among them lung injuries and damage. Punctured or collapsed lungs can be quite severe and potentially life-threatening. They require immediate medical care to avoid or treat serious complications.
Causes and Symptoms of Punctured or Collapsed Lungs
A collapsed lung – also known as pneumothorax – is characterized by the accumulation of air around lungs, thus putting pressure on the lung. A punctured lung can allow air in the lung to leak out, allowing air to accumulate around it.
The following are symptoms of a collapsed lung:
- rapid heartbeat;
- sharp chest pain;
- rapid breathing;
- tight feeling in chest; and
- bluish skin tone (due to decreased oxygen levels).
A doctor may detect this condition through an examination of the chest using a stethoscope and via a chest X-ray. A doctor may order a test to evaluate the patient’s blood gases as well. This measures oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, as well as blood acidity.
Doctors who detect the collapsed or punctured lung may order various treatments or procedures to correct the problem.
Treatment of Collapsed Lung
For some patients, the lungs heal on their own. But in other cases it may be necessary to insert a chest tube in order to remove air that’s accumulated.
However, chest tubes come with a risk of complications such as:
- decreased blood pressure; and
- accumulation of fluid in the lung.
Sometimes a tube is also required to suction out blood or mucus from the area. In some cases, patients with a collapsed lung may be provided oxygen.
Some patients may require surgery to close a hole in the lung that is allowing air to escape and accumulate around the lung. As with any invasive procedure, there are inherent risks in this surgery such as problems with anesthesia, hemorrhaging and infection. Patients should go over the risks of each procedure with their doctors.
Injured because of negligence? Pursue Compensation for Injuries
If your catastrophic accident is the result of another individual’s negligence, you can pursue a claim against that person’s insurance. You may also pursue a lawsuit in some cases. Talk to an attorney about your legal options and for help pursuing compensation for your damages.
Emergency hospital care, hospital stays, and treatment for lung injuries can be quite expensive. These are among the costs and losses accident victims may pursue from the at-fault party. Lost wages and emotional damages related to the accident may be recoverable as well.
D.J. Banovitz offers free consultation to accident victims. Call 303-300-5060 to set up your consultation and get started on your case today.