Diaphragmatic Hernia After Car Accident

Diaphragm hernia2.jpg

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Injury Lawyer. When someone suffers trauma in a car accident, there are several different types of injuries that they could sustain. These can range from simple scrapes and cuts to severe, life-altering, chronic injuries that require extensive rehabilitation to recover from. One of the most severe, yet often overlooked, injuries is called a diaphragmatic hernia. This was recently explored in a research publication.

Table of Contents

What is a Diaphragmatic Hernia?

Most people have heard of a hernia before and may have even experienced one themselves; however, a diaphragmatic hernia is not commonly seen outside of newborn babies. A hernia itself is the protrusion of organs or tissue through a muscular wall that would otherwise enclose, contain, and protect that organ or tissue. Some of the other types of hernias include:

Ventral Hernia

This is the protrusion of abdominal components, such as intestines, through the abdominal muscles that typically enclose the abdominal organs. People may notice or feel a lump or bump in their abdomen. They may even be able to push this back inside of the musculature.

Inguinal Hernia: This hernia is the protrusion of similar abdominal or pelvic components through the inguinal canal near the thigh. Symptoms of this injury could include a lump or a bump near their groin region that they can push back up inside of their pelvic area.

Diaphragmatic Hernia

A diaphragmatic hernia is slightly different than the other injuries mentioned because people cannot "feel" a bump like they can with the other injuries. This is because this type of hernia is the movement of abdominal components from the abdomen up into the chest cavity through the diaphragm. This hernia is often a congenital hernia, meaning it occurs in babies when their diaphragm doesn't form completely; however, this traumatic injury can also be seen as a result of an auto accident involving chest trauma. This could be a serious and potentially catastrophic personal injury which could result in a wrongful death if not treated quickly.

A Case Report: Mechanism of Injury

Recently, a patient with a diaphragmatic hernia presented to a local hospital after being involved in a serious truck accident. In the accident, the patient suffered polytrauma, including bone fractures. The driver was traveling down the highway at high speeds when he said an animal jumped out in front of his vehicle. To avoid the animal, he was forced to take evasive action, yet when he swung the wheel he collided with the concrete barrier at high speeds. This caused his truck to flip onto its side as it coasted down the highway along the concrete barrier, subjecting him to numerous traumatic forces. He sustained blunt traumatic injuries to his chest and abdomen, causing him to have difficulty breathing while also developing severe bruising all over his chest and abdomen. The serious accident caught the attention of bystanders, who called the local authorities and emergency medical personnel. The emergency personnel quickly arrived on the scene and assessed the driver, immediately noticing that he was having trouble breathing. He was transported to a local hospital by ambulance where he was evaluated by medical professionals. There was suspicion of serious internal injuries and so a CT scan was ordered. The scan clearly showed that the driver had a diaphragmatic hernia, with intestines moving up from the abdomen into the chest cavity. This was compressing his lung, causing him to have difficulty breathing. He was rushed from the emergency room to the operating room where his diaphragmatic hernia was reduced and repaired appropriately. He was then held in the hospital for recovery.

Chronic Problems Can Result From This Injury

When someone develops a severe injury such as this, they are prone to developing chronic problems. First, when the contents of the abdomen leak into the chest cavity, the acidity of the abdomen can damage some of the vital organs in the chest, such as the lungs. This can cause them to have trouble functioning and can lead to serious pain. It may take people a significant amount of time to recover from this damage to the lungs. Furthermore, with the protrusion into the chest, the intestines can be damaged as well. People may start to have difficulty eating and could develop serious GI symptoms as their intestines recover from this damage. These numerous visits to medical specialists can be costly and time-consuming.

Discussing Serious Injuries with an Injury Lawyer

When people develop chronic medical problems, they may be left wondering how they are going to make ends meet. There are numerous drains on their finances, including repeated doctors' visits, insurance deductibles, missed time from work, and replacing any property that may have been damaged in the accident. People could start to wonder if they are going to have to move or sell their house to pay these bills. Before making any decisions, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced legal professional to discuss all of the options available. There may be other ways to cover these costs and nobody should have to lose their home due to medical care. If you've been seriously hurt in an accident, reach out to an experienced injury lawyer right away.

Ed Smith, Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney

Experienced Sacramento Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Injury Lawyer. When your injuries are caused by the reckless or negligent actions of another individual, major corporation, or municipality, accident victims and members of their family can seek compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other damages. If you've been injured in an accident, call me for free, friendly advice at 916.921.6400.

I am a Sacramento injury lawyer appearing in the Million Dollar Forum. We are among some of the top-rated trial lawyers in the country. To be featured in the forum, an injury attorney must have obtained verdicts that have been valued at over $1 Million dollars.

Many of my verdicts and settlements from earlier cases are seen here.

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Image Attribution: The CT scan from the top was found on Wikimedia Commons and has been printed here with the permission of the Creative Commons License, BY SA, version 3.0.Featured in Final Photograph: Sacramento Injury Lawyer, Edward A. Smith:dr [cs 1049] mb 12.18.17
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