In October 2015, a 17-year-old girl was run over by a Ford F450 truck. Emergency responders rushed her to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston – a Level I Trauma Center – for treatment of severe internal injuries: a lacerated liver and kidneys, broken ribs, and a collapsed lung.
She survived the accident, and in her 74 days in the hospital, she underwent 10 surgeries and multiple related procedures.
That girl’s story illustrates just how complicated internal injuries can be. When the body’s vital organs are damaged in an accident, an injury victim will most likely require emergency medical treatment in a trauma hospital. And depending on where the accident occurs, that may mean emergency personnel have to fly the victim to another city to get the right care.
If a member of your immediate family has suffered an internal injury in an accident, and you believe someone else is to blame, you might be entitled to compensation that can help pay the costs of trauma care and ongoing rehabilitation. Call the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm today to request your free consultation: 1-855-414-1012.
About Trauma Care
Trauma hospitals are classified by level numbers I through IV. Of the 289 trauma hospitals in Texas, only 17 (including Texas Children’s Hospital) are Level I. Austin’s University Medical Center Brackenridge is the only Adult Level I Trauma Center in Central Texas.
To be classified as Level 1, a trauma center must be “capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury,” according to the American Trauma Society. That means round-the-clock surgical teams, rehabilitation therapists, and prompt availability of specialty surgeons. That high standard of care also comes with a high cost. One man interviewed by the Austin Statesman received an emergency room bill of $18,893, after being treated at UMC Brackenridge for a bicycle accident. Without insurance, his bill would have been about $2,800 more.
Often, people are surprised to learn the costs of their emergency care. Bills keep arriving from various hospital departments, and medical debt can add up quickly. That’s why injured parties, or their families, should use every resource available to them to mitigate their medical costs, including pursuing a personal injury claim against the parties who caused the injuries.
Types of Trauma Injuries
One of the most serious problems associated with internal injuries is shock. This condition occurs when the body’s circulatory system is damaged and can’t adequately deliver blood to the vital organs. Without immediate treatment, vital organs may fail, and death may occur.
Abdominal trauma, including damage to the liver, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys, is common in motor vehicle crashes and contact sports. The spleen is the most frequently injured organ injured in a car crash. It may tear and release blood into the abdomen, and treatment of this injury may require blood transfusions, or a surgeon may need to remove the entire spleen, if the damage is extensive. (It is possible to live without a spleen, but that does raise the risk of infection).
Symptoms of abdominal trauma include:
- Pain and tenderness
- Left arm and shoulder pain, when the spleen is injured
- Pain in the right shoulder, when the liver is injured
- Blood in urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low blood pressure.
Many of these symptoms are also seen in patients who have an injury to the bladder or urethra.
Injuries to the spine, rib, or pelvis may result in bone fragments which damage organs and cut blood vessels. When the major arteries in the pelvic area are cut or severed, surgeons must move quickly to stop the bleeding or the patient may not survive.
Damage to the kidneys may cause renal tubular acidosis, which means the kidneys aren’t adequately removing acid from the blood. This condition can cause a painful softening of the bones and kidney stones.
Injuries to the lungs and heart can be especially difficult to treat. Blunt cardiac injury, which is a strong blow to the heart, is a factor in 20 percent of all deaths in car crashes. Myocardial contusion (a bruise on the heart) is the most common type of blunt cardiac injury. Treatment may include surgery, chest tube insertion for drainage, and implantation of a pacemaker to regulate the heartbeat.
Internal Injury Lawyer: Help for Trauma Victims
Internal injuries may require long hospital stays and extensive rehabilitation. If someone in your household has suffered a traumatic injury in an accident, contact an internal injury attorney at the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm to find out if you have a case. Call us at 1-855-414-1012 or fill out our contact form to request your free consultation.