A Perilous Puncture: A Life-Threatening Lung Injury Caused by a Truck Accident
In any car-versus-truck accident, it’s safe to say the car doesn’t stand much of a chance against the sheer size of the big rig. Consequently, many victims of such accidents are routinely transported to local emergency rooms with life-threatening injuries.
One such injury—unfortunately more common than people realize—is a punctured lung.
The Breathtaking Risks of a Punctured Lung
Crushing injuries, impalement by accident debris, broken ribs, and a host of other truck accident outcomes can all place you at risk for a punctured lung if you’re involved in a violent crash with a semi-truck.
Now, you’re probably aware that fully-functioning lungs are essential for survival, so a puncture is a serious issue. If your lungs are compromised in any way, they’ll be unable to fill with oxygen, supply oxygen to the rest of the body, or absorb oxygen properly. They’ll also be unable to expel carbon dioxide adequately. What does this mean for your body? It means you’ll be at risk for…
- Collapsed lungs. As air escapes from the lungs, it will build up in your chest cavity and compress your lungs. This compression will further limit the amount of air you can breathe in. Essentially, every breath you take makes it harder for you to take the next one.
- Cell damage. Your blood, tissues, muscles, and organs will not receive the amount of oxygen they need to keep their cells alive. They begin to die in minutes.
- Organ failure. Once cells begin to suffocate, your organs will shut down to conserve oxygen for the heart and brain.
- Brain and heart failure. When there isn’t enough conserved oxygen to go around, you could suffer brain damage and heart failure.
- Death. Once the brain and heart shut down, your entire body will follow.
The Price of a Punctured Lung
Although a doctor may be able to diagnose an injured lung by listening to your heart and chest, the only way to make a definitive diagnosis of a punctured lung is by using one of the following tests:
- Chest X-ray or CT scan. These procedures use machines to take internal pictures (x-ray) and video (CT scan) of the chest cavity and will show perforations in the tissue of the lungs or any air escaping from a puncture. They may also show whether the lung is collapsing as a result of a puncture.
- Arterial blood gas (ABG) test. An ABG is a test that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. If the tests show an abnormally low level, this could prove that your lungs aren’t moving enough air in and out or absorbing enough oxygen to feed your body.
- Bronchoscopy. A bronchoscopy is a procedure where your doctor slides a thin viewing instrument—essentially, a miniature camera or periscope—down the throat to look at the lungs and determine how well they are functioning. The device may be able to capture a glimpse of the puncture itself or show a decrease in overall lung functionality.
Unfortunately, this type of diagnostic medical care isn’t cheap, and you’ll likely need additional treatments and care to aid in healing. There’s a high chance you’ll rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills. Furthermore, you may have to face future medical expenses that result from potential complications.
However, you can breathe easier knowing that you have the help of an experienced attorney on your side. Attorney Steve Lee doesn’t think you should be held responsible for fees associated with an injury caused by a negligent driver. Give us a call and we’ll discuss how we may be able to help you receive compensation that can help pay for your medical expenses. Fill out our online form or call 800-232-3711 to set up a consultation and speak with a skilled legal professional about your situation.