Lung Paralysis in an Auto Accident
Lung paralysis can take place in an auto accident and could be a life-threatening injury if not treated quickly. The lungs are one of the body’s vital organs. They take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. This oxygen is used to power the various cellular functions throughout the entire body. When the lungs expand, the pressure inside of them drops. Air moves into the lungs because of this low pressure. For the lungs to expand, the diaphragm on each side needs to drop. This movement is powered by the phrenic nerve. Some of the ways that the phrenic nerve might be damaged include:
- A penetrating injury of the chest or abdomen suffered in an auto accident could tear the nerve
- A blunt injury to the spinal cord at level C3, C4, or C5 could also damage the phrenic nerve at its origin
- Compression fractures of the spinal cord in a slip and fall injury could lead to a similar injury
If someone damages his or her phrenic nerve, the lungs might have trouble expanding. This could lead to lung paralysis and respiratory failure, placing the individual in a life-threatening situation.
Symptoms of Phrenic Nerve Paralysis
People depend on their phrenic nerves to move the diaphragm on each side, allowing the lungs to expand. If one of the diaphragms cannot move, there are a variety of symptoms that people might feel. A few of these include:
- A feeling of shortness of breath or difficulty moving air in and out of the lungs
- Extreme fatigue and trouble performing activities of daily living
- The lips and fingers may turn blue
- Difficulty sleeping at night, particularly with waking up feeling short of breath
- Recurrent, chronic headaches
All of these symptoms stem from a reduction in the capacity of the lungs. If people cannot move a large amount of air into their lungs, their body will become starved for oxygen. This will cause the body’s organs to have trouble performing their essential functions. Fortunately, there are some treatment options available.
Treatment of Lung Paralysis in a Car Accident
If an individual has suffered the paralysis of one of their diaphragms, the most critical step is ensuring that they have enough oxygen to power their body’s vital functions. In some situations, people might need to be intubated initially. Using a mechanical ventilator, medical professionals will make sure that the body has enough oxygen to stay alive.
Once the individual has been stabilized, the treatment can start. In some cases, the phrenic nerve might be able to be repaired. This could be possible if the nerve has been compressed in the chest cavity or in the spinal cord.
Unfortunately, if the nerve has been torn completely, the injury might be permanent. The individual may have to adjust to this severe reduction in lung capacity. This might mean changes in their activities of daily living, their ability to work, or their plans for their education.
Watch YouTube Video: Mike Struggles to Breathe – Diaphragm Paralysis Treated by Dr. Kaufman. Watch how Mike makes his journey to treatment for Phrenic Nerve Paralysis.
Contacting a Car Accident Lawyer
If an individual has been diagnosed with lung paralysis, he or she may spend an inordinate amount of time in the hospital as they try to stabilize the respiratory function. During this time, the family may have a lot of questions and concerns about what they should do next. This is where a meeting with an injury attorney in Sacramento can help a family get their recovery process off on the right foot. Some of the ways that an experienced lawyer can help include:
- Assisting families to review the various details from the accident and make important decisions about the future
- Guiding individuals and their loved ones as they pursue damages tied to the crash or its injuries
- Meeting with professionals who can recreate exactly what occurred at the time of the accident, ensuring that the mechanism is correct
- Shifting a case to trial if this is needed
In the end, families need to remember that help from a trained professional is always available. Rely on the expertise of a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer. Your family could be owed a significant financial award.
Sacramento Auto Accident Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Auto Accident Attorney. Lung paralysis could take place in a motor vehicle accident, placing an individual in a life-threatening situation. If you or a family member has suffered complications due to respiratory failure in a road traffic accident, please reach out to me by calling (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly legal advice.
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