Internal injuries, especially those involving the liver, spleen, stomach,
colon, pancreas and blood vessels can be caused by motor vehicle accidents,
blunt trauma or penetrating injuries. For, example, the blunt, shearing
force of striking the steer wheel in a motor vehicle accident lead to
a significant amount of traumatic internal injuries. Other causes for
traumatic internal, abdominal injury includes falls, striking injuries
to the abdomen and penetrating wounds such as gunshots and stabbings.
The functions of the liver, blood storage and filtration, secretion of
bile, breakdown of fats and regulation of blood volumes and clotting factors
can all effected with injury to the liver. An accident victim with an
injury to the liver may experience pain in the right upper abdominal region
or upper abdomen area. Because the liver receives approximately one fifth
of the blood pumped out of the heart, any bleeding injury to the liver
can cause a significant blood loss from the liver. If this were to happen,
the person's blood pressure might fall, their abdomen may distend
as it is filling with blood. The persons pulse can become weak and thready.
Occasionally, if the liver injury is very small, the person may be admitted
to the hospital for observation only. A major liver injury, may require
immediate surgical intervention.
Blunt trauma to the abdomen can also result in injury to the spleen. The
functions of the spleen, storing blood, freeing blood from wastes and
organisms and storing hemoglobin, may all be distributed with an injury
to the spleen. Because the spleen stores and maintains storage of blood,
large amounts of blood can spill into the abdominal cavity after an injury
to the spleen. A large volume of blood may be lost and the situation can
become life threatening. Accident victims with an injury to the spleen
may complain of left upper abdominal pain. Occasionally, this pain will
radiate to the left shoulder. Due to blood loss, a person may also exhibit
low blood pressures, weak pulse and possible bruising to the left upper
Injuries to the stomach are frequently caused by penetrating wounds or
blunt force trauma. Frequently, injuries to the stomach occur with additional
injuries to the pancreas or intestines. If there is injury to the stomach,
the enzymes and acids that are secreted to assist with digestion leak
into the abdominal cavity. This leakage of fluid can result in an infection.
Injury to the stomach also interferes with the digestion of food. People
with an injury to their stomach may complain of pain in the upper, mid
abdominal area. Stomach injuries may also cause the person to have muscle
guarding of the abdominal area, tenderness to touch, fast pulse and a
low blood pressure.
Injuries to the pancreas often occur in conjunction with other abdominal
injuries. Injury to the pancreas can have a high mortality rate that may
be associated with a late diagnosis of the problem. Injuries to the pancreas
alter its ability to perform its main functions of enzyme and insulin
secretion. Accident victims with pancreatic trauma can complain of pain
in the mid abdominal area or back. Abdominal guarding and low blood pressures
may be present. Accident victims may have delayed symptoms of up to 12
hours after the initial injury, and making diagnosis difficult.
Injuries to the colon and bowels are most frequently because of blunt trauma,
such striking the steering wheel in a motor vehicle accident. However,
penetrating trauma also accounts for some injury to the colon. Injury
to the colon disrupts the ability for the colon to assist with food breakdown,
nutrient absorption and waste excretion. It is also possible for wastes
and enzymes to leak from a damaged colon resulting in an infection of
the abdominal area. Accident victims with injury to the colon may experience
pain in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, muscle guarding or tenderness,
absence of bowel sounds or shock.
Blunt trauma is a major cause for damage to the large blood vessels internally.
This includes motor vehicle accidents and falls. The acceleration/deceleration
injury involved causes a shearing action and results in tears of the large
blood vessels. Injury to these vessels (aorta, femoral and iliac vessels)
results in a very large amount of blood loss. Accident victims with injury
to the large vessels may complain of abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
On examination, an accident victims may have an increase in the size of
their abdomen as it is filling with blood, abdominal tenderness, bruising
in the abdomen, and/or falling blood pressure with shock. Accident victims
may require immediate surgical intervention.
Accident victims with internal injury are at greater risk for bleeding
and death. Sometimes these injuries may go undetected due to their vague
symptoms and the fact that one can not visualize the injuries as they
could a cut to the skin.
Always get prompt medical attention for yourself or anyone suffering an
accident or suspected internal injury. If you, a friend, or loved one
have wrongfully injured in an accident, you should ask why, and take immediate
steps to protect your or their legal interest. Consider the suggestions in our
accident guide, and call us immediately. We are here to help. At Larry King, P.C., we
recognize the unique issues pertaining accident victims. You can call
us at 757-209-2265 or contract us with this sites
Contact Form, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We are committed
to doing the extra things it takes to help our clients.