Missouri Collapsed Lung Lawyer
A collapsed lung, known as a pneumothorax, can occur for many reasons, including an auto accident. It can be a spontaneous occurrence, it can occur as the result of an illness or rarely, as a complication of a surgical procedure, or it can occur as the result of an injury. The chest cavity is designed to keep a certain pressure that allows the lungs to inflate and deflate as we breathe. Any type of injury that disrupts that pressure can cause the lung to collapse – the most common is a penetrating chest injury.
With a penetrating chest trauma, a sharp object pierces the chest wall allowing air to rapidly enter the chest cavity, changing the pressure and causing part or the entire lung to collapse. Another common cause is a blunt trauma to the chest. When a blunt object strikes the chest with a large amount of force, injury to the lung tissue or the airway can occur as it is compressed; this type of injury can allow air that you have inhaled to escape into the chest cavity changing the pressure and causing the lung to collapse.
Common causes of either a penetrating or blunt injury to the chest resulting in a pneumothorax include:
- Motorcycle accident
- Trucking accident
- Auto accident
- Fall from a height
- Faulty airbag deployment
Pneumothorax Symptoms and Treatments
The symptoms of a pneumothorax depend on how much of the lung has collapsed. If only a small portion of a lung has collapsed, which is most likely with a blunt injury, the person will most likely not have any symptoms. When a large portion of the lung collapses, the person can become short of breath, have rapid and/or shallow breathing, and may have chest pain with deep breaths.
With a penetrating injury, the definitive treatment is having a chest tube placed. 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 air to be sucked out of the chest cavity without having additional air enter. Once the lung is reinflated, determined by serial x-rays, the chest wall will be sutured together and covered with an airtight dressing as it heals.
A pneumothorax that occurs as a result of a blunt injury can be very serious; the air entering the chest cavity can’t escape and if not treated quickly can start compressing the heart and other lung. This is treated most rapidly by placing a needle into the chest cavity, between two ribs, allowing the air to escape and thus relieving the pressure. Once you arrive at the hospital, a chest tube will be placed and the needle removed.
If the initial injury is not life threatening, these injuries often have good resolution following chest tube placement.
Preeminent Injury Law Firm on Your Side
Our devoted St. Louis lung injury attorneys will give your case the personalized attention it deserves. We have years of experience protecting the rights of victims who have been seriously hurt in accidents and can help obtain just compensation for their injuries. For more information about what we can do for you, call (314) 322-8515 to speak to a lawyer today.