Broken bones from accidents do not commonly lead to infection. However, when this does occur it can delay healing and in some cases could even be life threatening. There are generally two ways broken bones can lead to infection. One is when the individual sustains a compound fracture and the other is as a complication of surgery.
Infections Caused by Compound Fractures
Also known as an open fracture, this fracture occurs when the broken bone pierces or punctures the skin. The open wound is what makes the patient susceptible to developing an infection, as it allows bacteria to more easily enter the wound.
The infection can spread into the bloodstream, and in some cases might also travel directly into the bone, leading to a condition called osteomyelitis (infection of the bone). Certain types of patients might have a more difficult time with recovery from an infection; for instance, an older person or someone already in poor health.
Infections Caused by Surgical Complications
If surgery is required after an individual sustains a broken bone, sometimes an infection can develop after the procedure, although doctors take precautions before, during, and after the procedure to prevent infection.
Treating Infection Related to Broken Bones
Treatment usually consists of administering antibiotics. But in serious cases it may require surgery where the surgeon must open up the area that is infected and remove dead tissue or bone. With larger pieces of bone, it might also necessitate reconstruction surgery.
Another option is hyperbaric oxygen treatment, as noted by Health Library materials from Johns Hopkins University. This is usually done when other treatments haven’t worked. The patient is placed in a chamber where the lungs may absorb pure oxygen, which helps fight infection quicker.
It should also be noted that the risk of infection is higher under certain circumstances. For instance, the more damage there is around the broken bone—such as to veins, arteries and muscles—the greater the possibility of infection.
Even medical conditions and lifestyle choices can put people at a higher risk for infection, for example, those:
- with diabetes;
- with rheumatoid arthritis;
- who smoke cigarettes; and
- who are morbidly obese.
Benefits of Seeking Legal Counsel When Broken Bones Lead to Infection
Because of the potential risks associated with infection, it’s best to consult with an attorney if it was caused by someone else’s negligence. It’s important to adequately address all the losses experienced if you plan to file an injury claim against the at-fault party.
An attorney can determine if you have a valid case worth pursuing. Then a determination can be made as to who was at fault and how this may be proven. Finally, legal counsel will be able to assess the financial, physical and emotional damages and decide the types of compensation to seek.
Since an infection from a broken bone can lead to serious complications, it is important to consider not only the short-term implications but how it may affect you long-term.
Don’t delay seeking legal advice to learn more about your rights. Call D.J. Banovitz if you are in the Arvada area and wish to explore your options for financial recovery. Call 303-300-5060 or contact us online.