Internal bleeding is one of the more serious types of injuries you can sustain from a car accident. Internal bleeding can originate in one of two ways – blunt trauma or penetrating trauma. While you may not initially be aware of the severity of your internal injuries after a car accident, it is important to know that if you have internal bleeding and it is left untreated, it can be life threatening.
Types of Internal Bleeding
Internal Organ Trauma: Whether by blunt or penetrating trauma, internal bleeding can stem from a variety of injuries to the internal organs. Some of the more common forms of internal injuries caused by abdominal trauma include: Ruptured spleen; Tears in the intestine; Damage to the liver; Injury to the kidneys; Damage to the pancreas; Injury to major blood vessels; Damage to reproductive organs.
Blunt Trauma: Blunt trauma occurs when your body collides with an object at a high speed. In an auto accident, blunt trauma can occur if your body hits the steering wheel, airbag, windshield or even the seatbelt. Depending upon the force of the impact, the blood vessels in your body may rupture or tear. It is the rupture or tear which then leads to the internal bleeding.
Penetrating Trauma: Penetrating trauma is more obvious in that it occurs when a foreign object penetrates your body. The puncture wound tears a hole in one or more of your blood vessels which then leads to internal bleeding. An example of penetrating trauma happening in an auto accident would be if the glass from the windshield broke and penetrated your body. The shards of glass may cause the rupturing of your blood vessels.
Diagnosing Internal Bleeding
Because internal injuries are just that, internal, they are somewhat difficult to diagnose. You can recognize internal bleeding from visible symptoms like blood being discharged from your ear or your nose. Internal bleeding may also present itself from bloodshot eyes when injuries to your head occur. If your kidneys have been injured, you may notice red or brown urine. Injury to the stomach can manifest itself in bright right red vomit. However, the best way to fully identify whether you are experiencing internal bleeding is to undergo a minimally invasive procedure called laparoscopic surgery.
Laparoscopic surgery is a surgical procedure that uses a small video camera in tandem with several thin instruments. Small incisions of up to ½ an inch are made on the body and then plastic tubes are placed within the incisions. The small camera and thin instruments are then placed through the plastic tubes which allow images of the internal organs to be shown on a television monitor within the operating room. Basically, the camera becomes the eyes of the doctor as it can see what would otherwise be impossible. The laparoscopic surgery that we know today was truly created in 1986 when the video computer chip was developed. It was that chip that enabled surgeons to project the camera images onto television screens.
Laparoscopic surgery allows a surgeon to view the reproductive organs, stomach, spleen, intestines, liver, appendix and other internal organs that may have experienced trauma during an auto accident.
During the procedure, you will more than likely be under general anesthesia. However, in some rare occurrences, you may only receive a local anesthetic. If you are placed under general anesthesia, a urinary catheter will be inserted into your bladder to collect urine. After a diagnosis of your injury is made, the camera and instruments are removed and you will receive stitches at the site of the incisions.
After the procedure, you will stay in the recovery area until the effects of the anesthesia go away. Your vital signs will be monitored and side effects will be looked after. Side effects may include nausea; fever; chills; sharp pains and discharge near the site of the incisions.
Treatment for Internal Bleeding
During the laparoscopy procedure, your doctor will be able to locate the source of your internal bleeding and determine whether or not a surgical fix is needed. If surgery is needed, your doctor will determine whether the procedure must be performed then and there or if it is something that can wait. Of it is the latter, your doctor may wait to discuss the procedure with you before making the fix. However, because internal bleeding as a result of a car accident is usually a very serious situation, it is likely that your doctor will perform a procedure to fix the cause of your bleeding while you are under general anesthesia for the laparoscopy procedure. Because laparoscopy is minimally invasive compared to open surgery, patients may experience less trauma and postoperative discomfort, have fewer procedural complications, have a shorter hospital stay.
Although laparoscopy procedures are less intensive than open surgery, physical therapy may still be required. Your physical activity may increase over the few weeks following the procedure. As your activity increases, the use of physical therapy may help to regain range of motion and strength in the abdominal area.
Compensation for Treatment Costs
If you have suffered an internal injury as the result of an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment. By pursuing a personal injury claim, you can seek damages not only for direct medical expenses (things such as hospitalization, doctor visits, and physical therapy/ongoing treatment costs) but also for lost wages for periods of time you were unable to work due to your injuries and/or subsequent treatment.
Denver Car Accident Victim Attorney
At the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal, we understand how frustrating and painful auto accidents can be. The physical trauma can be overwhelming and daunting while the mental trauma can outlast even the most severe of corrective procedures. To help ease your burden, the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal will help get the litigation process started so that you can focus on your road to recovery. To begin the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries and the associated costs, contact us at 303.825.2223.