Abdominal trauma, or Blunt Abdominal Trauma (BAT) occurs when the person’s abdomen collides with another object causing compression of the abdomen and the surrounding organs including stomach, pancreas, kidneys, liver, spleen, and intestines.
Car accidents still happen frequently on US roads, even if the statistics do show a decrease compared to the last decades. Even when driving safely yourself, you are at risk of becoming a victim of a car accident. It’s important to know what to do from a legal and medical point of view after such an event.
Car wrecks can cause a wide variety of injuries ranging from minor bruises to serious and life threatening injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. Among all the car accident related injuries, internal injuries are the ones that are possibly the hardest to diagnose, because the symptoms might not show up immediately. These injuries are not immediately apparent to the emergency responders or paramedics at the accident scene or even to the victims themselves. Some of the most common internal injuries that a victim may sustain in a car accident include abdominal injuries. In this post, we will discuss car accident related abdominal trauma.
Abdominal Trauma – Common Car Accident Injury
Abdominal injuries may include internal tears, bruising or bleeding, and the condition can be life threatening if left untreated. Abdominal trauma, or Blunt Abdominal Trauma (BAT) occurs when the person’s abdomen collides with another object causing compression of the abdomen and the surrounding organs including stomach, pancreas, kidneys, liver, spleen, and intestines. This puts excessive pressure on the abdominal wall. Abdominal trauma is a common result of car wrecks, especially those that occur at high speeds, where the force of the collision causes the body to propel forward or sideways into the steering wheel, seatbelt, dashboard, or the frame of the vehicle. Abdominal trauma should be treated immediately or it can turn fatal. Untreated BAT is a leading cause of death among accident victims of all age groups.
As we said, car wrecks are the primary cause of blunt abdominal trauma, but it can also result from motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slips and falls, and others causes.
Signs and Symptoms of Blunt Abdominal Trauma
The signs and symptoms of blunt abdominal trauma may vary depending on the nature of injury. It can range from minor bruising to serious internal hemorrhaging. In many car accident cases, the victims might get something often referred to as a “seatbelt sign”. It is bruising on the abdomen along the site of the lap belt. Some other signs and symptoms include:
- Low blood pressure
- Syncope (fainting)
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Pain, fullness or pressure in the abdomen or surrounding areas
- Abdominal bloating
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Blood in the urine or stool
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty passing stool
If you experience any of these symptoms following a car wreck, you should seek immediate medical attention. If left untreated, blunt abdominal trauma can lead to complications including:
- Ruptured organs, spleen is most commonly affected
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Intestinal tears or fissures
- Injury to major blood vessels
- Damage to the pancreas
- Internal hemorrhaging
- Damage to reproductive organs
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Ruptured Spleen: Symptoms, Treatment, and Compensation after a Car Accident
Patients with ruptured spleens are often the victims of car crashes, as only a brutal impact can cause such a serious injury.
Symptoms of a Ruptured Spleen
Even if the spleen is not a vital organ, it plays a very important role in our bodies. The spleen is responsible for creating white blood cells that fight off infections, so it is part of your circulatory and immune system.
A spleen rupture is a very serious injury that may even lead to death if not treated in an emergency unit. Your symptoms may not seem serious enough immediately after the accident. Also, due to the adrenaline that is released in your body, you may feel less pain, so it’s very important to see a doctor after a car crash.
Symptoms of a ruptured spleen include:
- Pain in the upper left part of your abdomen, or even further from where the spleen is actually located. Some patients feel pain in their left shoulder and don’t expect their abdominal organs to be the cause of it;
- Low blood pressure can signal trauma to the abdomen, internal bleeding, and shock;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Bruising in the upper left part of your abdomen, which can indicate internal bleeding or soft tissue injuries that can lead to bleeding a while after the accident;
- Confusion and disorientation;
- Pale skin, which is often observed in patients who are in shock or who have internal bleeding.
Treatment of a Ruptured Spleen
The treatment of a ruptured spleen includes, in most cases, emergency medical care, blood transfusion, and even surgery. Some patients have to go through a splenectomy, which is the total removal of the damaged spleen.
Depending on the severity of your spleen injury, you might have to go through extensive medical treatments and be medicated against infections and pain. For legal and medical reasons, make sure you see the doctor when suspecting a spleen injury, go to the recommended tests and consultations and collect medical records of your visits. The costs of your treatment should be covered by the at-fault driver or his insurance company
Legal Help if You Are Injured in a St. Louis Car Wreck
If you or someone close to you has sustained blunt abdominal trauma in a car wreck, you may be faced with huge medical bills. If your accident was caused due to the negligence of another individual, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Call (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced St. Louis injury lawyer.