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If you can’t breathe after a crash, you could have flail chest

On Behalf of | May 15, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

In a car crash, there is a risk of developing abdominal injuries. In front-end crashes, for example, there is a risk of the spleen rupturing, damage to the liver or an impact to the bowel. You could suffer a brain injury from hitting your head or suffer a myocardial contusion. Pneumothorax, hemothorax and tracheal injuries are also possible.

An interesting organ injury that you could suffer from is called flail chest. This life-threatening injury happens when part of your rib-cage breaks and detaches from the chest wall. Since the rib and the tissues that attach it are ripped away from the chest wall, it can cause difficulty breathing. This condition can cause long-term disability and death without appropriate treatment.

The chest wall of someone with flail chest has to be stabilized as soon as possible. Broken ribs can cause bruises and cuts to the lungs, so resetting the ribs may be necessary. Without the ribs, the chest cannot properly expand. On top of that, the broken parts of the ribs can continue to cause injuries.

What are the symptoms of flail chest?

The symptoms of flail chest include:

  • Discoloration of the chest
  • Grazes or bruises to the lungs
  • Seat belt bruising to show that the belt did impact the ribs
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble drawing in a full breath

Flail chest is a possibility any time you suffer blunt-force trauma to the ribs. An X-ray may be used to diagnose it, and further imaging may be used to check for organ damage.

If you are considering a personal injury claim for organ injuries, then you will want to take more time to learn about the law and how to hold the other party responsible.