Ruptured Spleen Is a Common Injury After a Car Accident
Ask the next three people you encounter what the spleen does and you are likely to get three blank stares. If someone asks you, tell them it’s a fist-size organ in the upper-left side of the abdomen, slightly above elbow level, and that it filters out old blood cells and helps fight infection.
You can live without it, but that can be problematic, even lethal. Unfortunately, a ruptured spleen is a common injury in car accidents, so a lot of people wind up living without the organ, often because of a stranger’s negligent driving.
If you suffer a ruptured spleen in a car accident, there are precautions that can lessen the effects, but there will be a physical and financial price to pay. Contact the skilled St. Louis auto accident attorneys at The Bruning Law Firm to learn what types of financial compensation you can pursue to help ease your physical and emotional suffering.
Missouri Car Accidents Have Signature Injuries
Give statisticians enough data, and they probably could give you a breakdown of the numbers and categories of wounds represented by the tally of 47,977 people injured in crashes on Missouri roads in 2014.
The insurance company number crunchers know, for instance, that the five most common types of crash injuries are:
All too often, blunt trauma to the chest or a puncture can leave you with a ruptured spleen after a car accident in Missouri. In fact, car crashes are a top reason for spleen ruptures.
Sadly, the numbers these statisticians work with represent lives, people living through a painful experience that is quite common.
Ruptured Spleen Is a Common Injury in St. Louis Car Accidents
Here’s what to expect if you are unfortunate enough to become one of the people who can say, “A car accident caused my spleen to rupture.”
Symptoms of a rupture include pain in the upper-left abdomen and/or shoulder and pain when the injured area is touched. Being confused, lightheaded, or dizzy are common complaints.
Death is possible, but the results typically range from the body healing itself completely to loss of the organ and a lifelong susceptibility to infections. The immediate risk is potentially lethal internal bleeding that can require transfusions, and a hospital stay is likely.
Diagnosing a Ruptured Spleen in St. Louis
There are simple steps that can be taken to diagnose a spleen rupture:
- A physician who suspects you have a ruptured spleen will use external pressure to see whether the area is tender and to gauge whether the organ is enlarged.
- Blood tests can identify further evidence of damage to the spleen, and scans such as an ultrasound can indicate internal bleeding. Fluid can be drawn from the abdominal cavity to find evidence of bleeding.
- The final diagnostic step could be a CT scan, often used to rule out other sources of internal bleeding.
Treating a Ruptured Spleen in St. Louis
Once the rupture is diagnosed, the severity of the injury dictates the treatment, which can range from a stay in the hospital for monitoring and recuperation to immediate removal of the organ.
- If the rupture isn’t too severe, the victim can heal with little more than rest and time, although a hospital stay and blood transfusions may be needed.
- After the initial treatment and healing, periodic checks such as CT scans could be used to ensure adequate healing.
Time and transfusions sometimes aren’t enough. Surgical solutions could include:
- Surgery to repair the rupture through stitches or other means.
- Surgery to remove the entire organ. The procedure, called a splenectomy, increases the subsequent risk of serious infections such as sepsis in children and young adults. Long-term use of pneumonia and flu vaccines may be prescribed to minimize risks.
- Surgery to remove part of the spleen. This approach leaves the victim less vulnerable to infections.
The mortality rate for spleen ruptures is low, but the rupture can be lethal, and any type of surgery poses a risk.
There Are Financial Costs, Too
Perhaps you were in a crash and walked away with just a scratch or two. Maybe you refused medical attention. There is a good reason that medical care is a must after almost every crash. Bruises and minor flesh wounds from collisions can be red flags signaling internal injuries, including a ruptured spleen.
Of course, all the damage from crashes isn’t physical. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that crash injuries in 2012 would cost victims $33 billion in wages.
The expense doesn’t stop there. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put the economic cost of crashes in 2010 at $242 billion. That is the financial fallout from 32,999 fatalities, 3.9 million nonfatal injuries, and 24 million damaged vehicles. With losses in quality of life and overall societal harm factored in, the tab jumps to $836 billion.
If You Are a MO Crash Victim, The Bruning Law Firm Can Help
In Missouri, the St. Louis car accident attorneys of The Bruning Law Firm are the home team, a family-run law firm with deep roots in the community it has served for decades. These fierce litigators are no strangers to the physical results of negligent driving, including ruptured spleens and the long-term challenges the injury presents. And we will fight aggressively for the compensation you need to recover from this injury.
Contact us today if you need compassionate lawyers who understand the legal, physical, and emotional effects of automobile accidents. The initial consultation will be free.