Chest trauma in a Texas car accident can cause a person’s lung to be punctured. This often leads to traumatic pneumothorax, also known as a collapsed lung, and can be deadly if not treated. Pneumothorax is caused when a puncture to the lung allows air to fill the space between the lungs and the chest wall. This limits the air from getting into the person’s lungs—significantly reducing his ability to breathe. If the air becomes trapped in this area, it is known as tension pneumothorax and is life-threatening.
It is critical to watch for the warning signs of a punctured lung to ensure that the injured victim receives prompt medical treatment. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, soft bulges in the skin in the neck and chest, chest pain, pale or bluish skin, or a dry cough.
Five Common Treatments for a Punctured Lung
A victim of an automobile accident who suffers a punctured lung is often prescribed antibiotics to treat or prevent an infection, pain medication to reduce the pain, and sedatives to help him relax. In addition, there are five common treatments for a punctured lung:
- Needle aspiration. A needle is inserted in the cavity between the lungs and the chest wall to draw out the air to enable the lungs to fill with air when the victim breathes.
- Chest tube. This can be used to draw out the trapped air or fluids or blood surrounding the collapsed lung, allowing the lung to fill with air and the heart to beat properly.
- Pleurodesis. Chemicals like talc powder or iodine are given to irritate the area filled with air, making the space between the lungs and chest wall contract, forcing the air out.
- Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery. With this type of surgery, a video scope and other special instruments are used to repair the collapsed lung.
- Thoracotomy. An incision is made in the chest cavity, allowing the surgeon access to the lungs so they can be repaired.
Sometimes these procedures do not solve the problem, especially if the person has a persistent air leak. Complications could include failure to cure the problem, continued difficulty breathing, cardiac arrest, infections, and pain at the tube insertion site.
Punctured lungs can cause serious, life-threating injuries. The medical costs alone could be very expensive. Fortunately, an injured victim may be entitled to compensation from the person who caused the accident. The Hart Law Firm represents car crash victims throughout Texas including Colleyville, Arlington, Irving, Hurst, Euless, North Richland and Grapevine. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.488 for your free consultation.