A serious California car accident can lead to many different physical problems. Most people think of back injuries, neck injuries or broken bones when they think of injuries sustained in a car accident, but there is also the possibility of damage to your internal organs.
A forceful blow to your abdomen can cause a ruptured spleen. If your spleen is ruptured as the result of a car accident and isn’t treated, it can create a life-threatening emergency.
What is the Spleen?
The spleen is one of those organs that people don’t give any thought to unless it is damaged. It’s a small organ that is part of the immune system, and it is located on the left side just under the rib cage. It produces white blood cells that help your body fight infection.
The spleen also filters the blood and removes unwanted material. Old, damaged blood cells are destroyed by the spleen. It’s possible to live without this organ if it becomes damaged, but it greatly increases the risk of infections.
Signs of a Ruptured Spleen
The location of the spleen puts it at risk of being injured in a vehicle accident. A blow to the left side or to the abdominal area can damage the ribs as well as rupture the spleen in the process. A ruptured spleen means that the covering of the spleen breaks open and pours blood into the abdominal area, which is a medical emergency.
Signs and symptoms that may indicate a ruptured spleen include:
- Tenderness and pain, especially when touching the left upper abdomen
- Pain in the left shoulder or left upper chest wall
- Blurred vision
- Signs of shock such as paleness, restlessness, and nausea
If you have pain in your left side or any other signs of internal injuries after an accident, it’s very important to be evaluated by a doctor.
Diagnosing a Ruptured Spleen
A medical professional can diagnose a ruptured spleen using several tests. Your doctor will put pressure on your abdomen to check for tenderness. Blood tests will be ordered to check platelet count and how efficiently your blood is clotting.
Your doctor will want to determine whether there is blood in your abdomen. This is often done by using an ultrasound. He or she may also order a CT scan of your abdomen to clearly assess damage to your spleen and any other possible internal injuries that you may have sustained in the accident.
Treatment of a Ruptured Spleen
If your spleen is ruptured, treatment will depend on how badly the organ is ruptured. The two forms of treatment for a splenic rupture include observation and surgery. Serious bleeding requires immediate surgery. If it’s a small rupture, the surgeon may be able to repair your spleen with stitches. More serious damage will require removal of all or part of the spleen.
If your splenic rupture is not severe, you may need a blood transfusion, and doctors may choose observation instead of surgery. CT scans will be repeated for monitoring purposes, and you will need to rest.
Considerations After Spleen Removal
Although surgery to remove your spleen is generally safe, and it is possible to live without your spleen, there are still some things to consider. Having your spleen removed seriously affects your body’s ability to fight infection, and you will need to get vaccinated against some illnesses including pneumonia and meningitis. Extra precautions will also need to be taken to prevent infections.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a California accident and has experienced a ruptured spleen, the cost of hospitalization and surgery can be very high. An expert personal injury lawyer may be able to help you recover some of these costs. Contact Kuvara Law Firm using the form on this page and we will get back to you soon to discuss your case.