Pulmonary lacerations should be suspected in every case of penetrating trauma, mainly when a high-speed car accident occurs.
WHAT IS PENETRATING TRAUMA?
According to Dignity Health, trauma is the number one cause of death amount adults aged forty-four and younger. Car accidents can result in severe injuries for not only the driver of a car but also the passengers inside the vehicle or pedestrians walking outside. Most crash-related injuries can be categorized as impact injuries or penetrating trauma.
If you or someone you know was injured in a serious car crash, truck crash, highway accident, or street accident, contact us today to discuss your next steps. It’s best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Nearby trauma centers in Joliet, Chicago, and Waukegan may be a good place to start after speaking with our experienced team of car accident trauma attorneys.
WHAT IS PENETRATING TRAUMA?
Penetrating trauma occurs when an object breaks through the skin and enters bodily tissue. An example of a penetrating injury is a shard of shattered glass from a windshield piercing a victim’s skin during a collision. Penetrating trauma can result in lacerations, deep puncture wounds, internal bleeding, or organ damage.
One of the severe injuries that can result from penetrating trauma is a pulmonary laceration. A pulmonary laceration occurs when lung tissue is torn or cut. The chest injury typically results from penetrating trauma, substantial blunt chest trauma, or perforation from fractured ribs.
DIAGNOSING PULMONARY LACERATIONS
Pulmonary lacerations are diagnosed using CT scans. About fifty percent of such injuries go undetected in initial chest X-rays since they may not be evident due to consolidation from pulmonary contusion. As the contusion gets better, the lacerations may become more apparent.
Lacerations from penetrating trauma can appear as egg-shaped structures on CT scans. The lung cavity may either be partially or completely filled with blood, resulting in an ovoid pulmonary hematoma. Blunt trauma can cause multiple air-filled lung cysts that may make the lungs look like Swiss cheese.
Pulmonary lacerations can result in complications such as obtaining additional infections or an air embolism. One of the most common complications is pneumothorax — a collapsed lung. Broken ribs can pierce the lungs, causing them to collapse and air to fill the chest cavity.
A severe car accident can lead to pneumothorax, particularly when shrapnel from the vehicle pierces the chest wall and causes penetrating trauma. The injury can be deadly without proper medical diagnosis and treatment.
Pulmonary lacerations should be suspected in every case of penetrating trauma, mainly when a high-speed car accident occurs.
Since a crash can result in a wide range of injuries, it is essential to differentiate between pulmonary lacerations and other lesions such as pneumothorax or concussions. Doing so can ensure that a victim receives adequate medical treatment.
There are four main types of pulmonary lacerations:
Lacerations are the most common injuries car accident victims can suffer, particularly in crashes involving high-speed impact.
Collisions often produce broken glass and other sharp debris that can pierce the skin of drivers and passengers.
Lacerations are deep cuts, tears, or slashes that can result in serious injuries. The deeper the wound, the higher the chances that underlying tissue has been damaged and further complications may arise.
Deep lacerations can result in disfiguration or permanent scarring, making it difficult for victims to move their joints without pain. Although a person may heal from physical injuries, they can develop psychological issues. Lacerations that occur in car accidents fall into four main categories:
The most common type of crash-related laceration injury is when a sharp object cuts the epidermis or outer layer of the skin. In severe cases, the lacerations may penetrate the underlying layers of the skin.
While this laceration is rare in car accidents, it may occur in severe cases. An object hits the skin at an angle that causes it to stretch and break open due to friction.
These are among the most severe and painful injuries resulting from car accidents, particularly rollover crashes or head-on collisions. A body part is crushed between two objects, causing the skin and muscle tissue to tear due to the compression.
These injuries occur when a person’s skin rubs at an angle against an object, such as tire rubber. The grazing pulls the skin and peels it back, crushing underlying tissue.
Pulmonary lacerations usually heal quickly if properly diagnosed and received timely treatment. Some patients with pulmonary tears, such as those that are mechanically ventilated, may have surgery due to rapid enlargement of lesions.
Thoracotomy is necessary only for a small number of patients with thoracic injuries. Thoracotomy is a surgical procedure in which a cut is made between the ribs to reach the lungs or other organs in the chest.
Among the patients who undergo surgery, around one-third may need lung resection to treat hemorrhage, remove seriously damaged lung tissue or address irreparable proximal bronchus injuries. Most penetrating trauma injuries to the lungs can be treated with simple sutures or tractotomy, a surgical technique.
The greater the extent of lung resection for trauma, the higher the risk of death. When a small piece of lung tissue is removed through a wedge resection, the mortality rate is 19 percent, compared to 53 percent for the removal of an entire lung through pneumonectomy.
The severity of the wound and where the laceration occurs will determine the medical treatment that a car accident victim receives at the scene of the crash and later in a hospital emergency room. Significant blood loss is the most immediate concern associated with lacerations, as it can be life-threatening.
Other complications can occur, however, such as infections that may result in amputation of the affected area in severe cases. Prompt medical attention can minimize disease risk, including adequately cleaning the wound. A doctor may administer stitches to protect underlying tissue and reduce scarring. Medication may be prescribed to help victims cope with the pain.
When a laceration only damages the outer layer of skin, it is considered superficial and typically heals quickly. However, car accident victims who suffer deep cuts may need further medical treatment, including blood transfusions, skin grafting, or plastic surgery. Surgery may be required when there is extensive damage to muscles and tissue.
Car accidents can potentially cause penetrating trauma injuries that can take a long time to heal. Severe lacerations can even leave you struggling emotionally and change the way you carry out daily activities.
Seeking compensation from those responsible for your crash injuries is crucial to ensuring you have the financial support you need. Under Illinois law, negligent drivers can be held accountable for their actions.
Filing a personal injury claim allows you to recover compensation for medical bills, emotional distress, lost wages due to time off work, and other accident-related costs. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you obtain the damages you deserve.
Car accidents often result in lacerations due to the presence of broken glass and other sharp debris that can cause penetrating injuries by piercing the victim’s skin. When a vehicle collides with something, the impact can shatter the windows and windshield. It can also send other fragile objects flying around.
Pulmonary lacerations and other chest injuries can happen in any crash scenario, but they are most common in rollover accidents, head-on crashes, and side-impact collisions. When a car travels at high speeds, the damage and resulting injuries are likely to be more severe.
Everything from cell phones to sunglasses can potentially break and pose a risk of harm to vehicle occupants. The sudden force can cause penetrating trauma in the form of cuts and lacerations.
Chest injuries are commonly reported among front-seat occupants, whom airbags or the steering wheel may injure. They may suffer injuries like rib fractures, which can affect the lungs.
Penetrating trauma in car accidents can be caused by the following:
If you have suffered severe injuries in a car accident, contact the Chicago car crash trauma lawyers at Briskman, Briskman, and Greenberg. We are dedicated to helping clients obtain compensation for their injuries. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
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If you were injured or lost a loved one because of the carelessness of another, you may be able to receive compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
When you call Briskman Briskman & Greenberg for a free consultation, you will speak directly to an experienced attorney in Chicago, usually one of the firm’s principals, who will assess the facts of your situation and advise you of your rights. Don’t delay getting your free legal consultation: if you fail to pursue your claim in a timely fashion, you could forever lose your rights.