How Do I Know If I Have a Punctured Lung After an Accident?

Punctured lungs are serious injuries that restrict the person’s ability to breathe. Beyond oxygen deprivation, a punctured lung can lead to many other serious conditions without treatment. However, medical care can eliminate most of the future health complications of punctured lungs with quickly administered treatment.

Because it is an internal injury, recognizing that you have a punctured lung can be difficult. When you take the time to learn the warning signs, you can improve your chances of receiving proper treatment and making a proper recovery. If you’ve suffered a punctured lung after an accident, talk to an Atlanta personal injury lawyer after seeking medical attention.

What Is a Punctured Lung?

Punctured lungs are also known as collapsed lungs or pneumothorax. They occur when air starts to fill in between two layers of your lung’s tissue lining. The air puts pressure on the main lung, restricting how much it can expand and results in trouble with breathing.

Most often, punctured lungs occur due to trauma on the chest. Any sort of accident, from motor vehicle to slip and fall, that results in a hard impact may potentially lead to a punctured lung. In some cases, the outside trauma will open a tear in the lung. In others, a broken rib will puncture the tissue lining. Sometimes, punctured lungs can develop without any direct cause.

A punctured lung can also lead to other medical conditions, such as inflammation, shock, and fluid in the lungs.

Symptoms of a Punctured Lung

Because of the potential risks associated with punctured lungs, it is important for you to recognize any potential symptoms. The easiest indicator to notice is chest pain. Even slight pain that seems like general soreness may be an indicator of a punctured lung after an accident. You should report any signs of chest pain to a paramedic, especially if you only feel pain on one side.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain that sharpens when you inhale, cough, or take deep breaths
  • Chest tightness or discomfort
  • Difficulties with breathing
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate or weakened pulse
  • Pale or blue skin

While many signs of a punctured lung exist, not all injuries are immediately apparent. Sometimes adrenaline may dull your recognition or symptoms, or the signs may start to show late. Because of the potential risk for punctured lung and other conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries, you should always seek medical treatment after any accident. If you are exhibiting symptoms, seek immediate medical help.

Treatment for a Punctured Lung

The severity of the injury will affect the exact treatment approach taken. Some possible treatments involve using a needle to release unwanted air pressure, draining the air with a tube in the chest, surgery to repair damaged lung tissue, and supplying oxygen while the lung heals itself. With prompt medical attention, most punctured lungs will heal within six to eight weeks.

A punctured lung may reoccur if you are in another accident or put too much strain on yourself. As you recover, you will need plenty of rest. Most likely, you will need to take time off from work. Other recovery steps can include taking medication, wearing loose clothing, avoiding driving, and sleeping in an elevated position.

If you have suffered a punctured lung or similar injury in an accident, then you may be eligible to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering. Contact the attorneys at Cruz & Associates for a free consultation. We can help you determine liability, understand your rightful compensation, and fight for your case in court so that you can focus on recovery. We’ve been helping clients for more than 25 years. Let us do the same for you.

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