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4 Critical Steps to Take If You Suspect a Post-Accident Internal Injury

Internal Bleeding

It only takes seconds for an accident to occur. Whether you are involved in a car crash or a serious fall, it’s possible that you could suffer internal bleeding. The symptoms of internal bleeding aren’t always immediate and can linger for several days before being properly identified. The longer a bleed continues, the more serious your injury could become.

There is often a lot of confusion following an accident. You may not feel like you have been badly injured, or may even be cleared to go home by an emergency medical attendant. It’s important to stay aware of your physical condition and any changes that you experience.

If you are involved in an accident, it’s essential to get the help that you need. You can start by seeing your doctor and follow up with a malpractice lawyer like The Tinker Law Firm PLLC if you plan to file a lawsuit. The most important action that you can take is to be aware of any lingering or worsening physical symptoms. Let’s take a closer look at a few critical steps to take if you suspect that you may have a post-accident internal injury.

What Is Internal Bleeding?

 

Internal bleeding is blood that is being released from your organs or veins under the surface of your skin. Internal bleeding can be difficult to diagnose and hard for normal people to recognize. When you have internal bleeding, your blood is pooling in different body cavities, including the brain, the abdomen, and the chest cavity. The severity of your internal bleeding will depend on the type of injury, the location, and how long the bleed has been left undiagnosed.

Causes of Internal Bleeding

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The most common cause of internal bleeding due to an accident is blunt trauma. This is caused by an impact of some force on the body. In most cases, the cause of internal bleeding after trauma is due to broken bones. The different types of trauma include:

Blunt Trauma

  • Blunt trauma often occurs when the body collides with another object with excessive force. In the case of a car accident, your body may hit the front dash in a collision. During a crash or blunt trauma, your blood vessels may become torn or crushed, resulting in internal bleeding.

Penetrating Trauma

  • When a foreign object is forced into the body, causing damage to the blood vessels. This can happen in a car accident if a piece of metal were to puncture the body or during a fall.

Common Symptoms of Internal Bleeding

Concussion Post Car Accident

Internal bleeding injuries can be anywhere from a minor incursion that will heal itself to a life-threatening condition. It’s important to be aware of any physical changes that you experience following an accident. The symptoms that you will experience when you have internal bleeding depend on where the injury is located. Let’s examine the symptoms according to their placement:

Head Injuries

  • If your brain is bleeding, it will often cause severe headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and nausea. Experiencing weakness on one side of the body is also common. Stay aware of vision changes that can indicate internal brain bleeding. If the bleeding is allowed to get worse, you may experience confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Chest Injuries

  • If you have injured your chest, blood can gather in the chest cavity, putting stress on your vital organs, including your heart. Internal bleeding in the chest can cause shortness of breath, pain, a gasping cough, and spitting up blood. If you are coughing up blood, you need to see an emergency doctor immediately. A small amount of blood, less than a teaspoon, is considered an emergency. Any more blood than a teaspoon that is coughed up could be a fatal injury.
  • Bleeding around the heart can be fatal if not treated quickly. The additional pressure on the heart muscle can restrict it from beating normally. This condition, known as cardiac tamponade, can be fatal.
  • Lung injuries include punctures and collapses; there is often excessive external bruising on the chest and the neck. The skin of the upper neck and abdomen may feel crinkly as it collects the oxygen that is meant for the lungs. 

Abdominal Injuries

  • Internal bleeding in the abdomen can cause pain, bruising, and pain. Bruising along the flank may also indicate internal bleeding in the abdomen.
  • When a doctor listens to the abdomen with a stethoscope and cannot hear bowel sounds, it is a good indicator of internal bleeding.
  • Bleeding in the abdomen can result in blood in the esophagus and intestines, which can cause vomiting of blood or blood in the stool respectively.

Bones and Joint Injuries

  • Breaking a bone can result in internal bleeding. The most obvious sign is excessive bruising around the fracture. In some cases, the skin surrounding the fracture could turn pale and tight with a condition called compartment syndrome.

Complications of Internal Bleeding

Shock After Accident Injury

The loss of blood when there is internal bleeding can be anywhere from minor to fatal. In some cases, a minor case of bleeding will eventually stop and heal on its own. However, more serious cases can lead to serious conditions. Let’s take a look at some of the complications of internal bleeding.

Shock

  • When your body goes into shock, it is experiencing a lack of blood and oxygen to the vital tissues. When shock is caused by a loss of blood volume due to an internal injury it is referred to as hypovolemic shock
  • Signs of shock include rapid heartbeat, sweating, and shallow breathing.

Organ Failure

  • Vital organs like the liver and heart are more susceptible to a lack of blood. The tissues can quickly die when there is not enough blood flow and can cause organ failure.

When to See a Doctor

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If you are involved in an accident, it is crucial to allow yourself to be examined by on-site medical professionals. They will help you determine the severity of any injuries you may have, including the chance that you may have internal injuries. 

If you notice any of the signs that you have internal injuries discussed in this article, including pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, pain, and bruising, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Different types of trauma can cause internal injuries to the body. If you are involved in a car accident or violent fall, you may have hidden injuries that don’t show up right away. See your doctor if you suspect that you may have a post-accident internal injury.