Chance Fractures in Children


Chance Fractures in Children

I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. As children grow and develop, they often suffer bumps, bruises, and scrapes along the way. While children are resilient, there are some injuries that have the potential to be devastating, with lifelong complications as a result. One example is chance fractures in children, a devastating spinal cord injury that was once thought to be rare but is now seen at an increasing rate.

An Overview: Childhood Injuries

Children sustain scrapes and bruises while growing up. While this is to be expected, severe injuries could lead to lifelong complications or even death. According to the Childhood Injury Report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Over 12,000 children die each year in the United States from some form of an unintentional injury.
  • Male children are twice as likely to be killed as female children.
  • Transportation injuries are the most common cause of death. Car accidents are at the top of this list, followed by bicycles and pedestrian injuries.
  • Of the nonfatal injuries, slip and fall injuries were the most common cause.

Some nonfatal injuries could leave kids with devastating chronic problems.

What is a Chance Fracture?

A chance fracture is a severe spinal cord injury that was once thought to be rare; however, a recent review of the medical literature has determined that this fracture is actually more common than was previously thought. A chance fracture is an extreme injury to the spinal ligaments that results from forceful flexion in the forward direction of the neck. This is commonly seen in an auto accident. When a car collides with an object in front of it, the head flies forward and stretches the spinal cord. This can damage the anterior column of the spinal cord, the ligaments associated with it, and is often seen with posterior fractures of the vertebrae, typically in a transverse manner. This injury can be seen in children and has the potential to cause paralysis or, possibly, even death. Based on the results of the literature review, car accidents are among the most common causes of this devastating spinal cord injury in children; however, there are other associated injuries that everyone should be aware of.

Associated Injuries can be Seen

If someone has suffered a chance fracture in a car accident, there are numerous other injuries that people should be on the lookout for. For example:

Abdominal Injuries: First, a significant portion of chance fractures are seen with injuries to the abdomen as well. Individuals and medical providers should be on the lookout for a seat belt sign, which often shows up in a car accident. Abdominal injuries include:

  • Intestinal tears
  • Stomach tears
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spleen or liver lacerations

Aortic Dissection: Other possible injuries include an aortic dissection. This is a tear in the body’s largest blood vessel, the aorta, which results from a shearing force of an auto accident. Due to the size of the aorta, a tear in this blood vessel constitutes an emergency. These tears are often identified on an ultrasound and subsequently require an emergent surgical repair to stop the bleed before the patient bleeds to death.

Prognosis is Dependent on Severity

Once a patient has been diagnosed with a chance fracture, they will be taken to surgery for repair. The torn ligaments and damaged vertebrae will need to be stabilized with screws and rods. This can be a complicated procedure because as children grow, the equipment will need to grow with them. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital for people suffering this injury to make a full recovery. Spinal cord injuries have the potential to be devastating for children, and parents who have concerns should sit down and speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sacramento to discuss their options.

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Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. If you have concerns about a spinal cord injury in your child, call me at (916) 921-6400 to receive friendly, free advice. Feel free to dial our toll-free line: (800) 404-5400.

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