St. Louis Chest Injury Lawyer
A hemothorax occurs with injury to blood vessels, allowing blood to accumulate in the chest cavity. Injuries to the vessels can occur due to direct injury from a penetrating object or from shearing forces as the body rapidly decelerates during a car collision. Common causes of this are tractor trailer accidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, gunshot injury, stabbing, falls, and rarely, contact sport injuries.
Depending on the severity of the injury, a hemothorax can be a life-threatening injury. If one of the major vessels was severed, you may have massive internal bleeding leading to shock – rapid heart rate, shallow and rapid breathing, low blood pressure, and pale clammy skin. If the bleeding is not rapid and severe, such as the case with injury to a vein, the accumulating blood may cause chest pain and difficulty breathing as it builds and compresses the lung. However, if enough blood accumulates, it may cause a lung collapse, causing shortness of breath.
Treatment and Prognosis
With a hemothorax, the blood in the chest cavity must be drained by a chest tube. A chest tube consists of a one-way valve that is placed in the chest wall and tubing that is usually attached to a form of suction. This one-way valve allows the blood to be sucked/drained out of the chest cavity without having additional air enter. If a large amount of blood is drained initially, surgery may be needed to control the bleeding and repair any torn or severed blood vessels. A blood transfusion may also be necessary if massive amounts of blood have been lost. Once the bleeding has stopped and all blood drained from the chest cavity, the chest wall is sutured together and covered with an airtight dressing as it heals.
Most hemothoraces resolve on their own because the bleeding originates from a vein which is able to clot off on its own.
Personal Guidance During a Difficult Process
After a traumatic accident, injured victims face a painful recuperation period, along with hospital bills, lost wages and other emotional damages. Our Missouri lung injury attorneys have the resources to honestly evaluate value of your injury claim so that you get the compensation you deserve. Call (314) 322-8515 today to see what we can do for your specific case.