Traumatic Esophageal Rupture Can Occur in an Auto Accident

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I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Attorney in Sacramento. The esophagus is a long tube and one of the most important structures in the body, as it carries food and liquids from the mouth down to the stomach. The esophagus traverses the neck, a particularly vulnerable location in the body. A recent case study demonstrates just how the esophagus can be damaged in a traumatic accident.

Symptoms of Esophageal Damage

The esophagus is a tube that functions by using rhythmic contractions called peristalsis to transmit food from the mouth to the stomach. When someone has suffered a traumatic injury to their esophagus, they may notice symptoms such as:

Reflux: Someone who has damaged their esophagus may feel like the food that they swallow is coming back up into their esophagus, causing heartburn. This could happen more often if someone lays down after a meal or consumes acidic foods, such as citrus substances.

Dysphagia: Dysphagia is the medical term used to describe difficulty swallowing. People may notice that food is getting stuck in their throat, midway down their neck. People may find assistance if they take smaller bites or chew their food more; however, pain while swallowing is a symptom of esophageal damage.

Weight Loss: Over time, people with esophageal damage could develop an aversion to eating because of the pain or problems that come after. Because people may develop an aversion to eating, they could start to lose weight due to the nutritional deprivation.

The esophagus is also near the trachea and spinal cord in the neck. This means that damage to the trachea could lead to problems with these structures as well. Regardless, symptoms of esophageal damage should be taken seriously and people need to understand how this damage might occur.

A Case Report: Esophageal Damage in an Auto Accident

There are several ways that people could develop a catastrophic personal injury to their esophagus. A recent case report discussed a man who suffered a serious injury to his esophagus in an auto accident. The individual was driving down the highway at high speeds when he was forced to stop short as an auto accident developed in front of him. He was struck from behind by another driver who was following too closely and could not hit his breaks in time. The abrupt force caused his head to snap backward, leading to significant pain throughout his head, neck, and back. Emergency personnel was called to evaluate the patient at the scene. They quickly decided that the man required further medical attention at the local hospital and transported him there by ambulance. On arrival, he was quickly evaluated by medical professionals, who performed a series of scans to get a better idea of the injuries that the man had suffered. They quickly realized that he had suffered a series of vertebral fractures in the thoracic area of his spine, causing numerous symptoms; however, they also noticed something scary. They found that the patient had free air in the soft tissue of his neck, indicating that there was damage to the patient's esophagus and trachea, near his throat. With further imaging, they realized that the man had damaged his esophagus and would require emergent surgery to quickly repair the injury before it caused further problems. The man was taken to surgery where his injuries were repaired. Then, his long road to recovery began.

Chronic Esophageal Problems can Seriously Impact Quality of Life

When someone sustains an injury to their esophagus, there are numerous chronic problems that can adversely impact someone's quality of life. Some of the issues that someone could experience include:

Inability to Eat: Someone who has developed serious problems in their esophagus could be unable to eat. Many people look forward to each and every meal over the course of the day. Those that cannot eat are forced to attain their nutrition artificially, possibly through a tube inserted directly into their stomach.

Infection: If someone is forced to absorb nutrition through a tube in their stomach or intestines, this site is prone to infection. If infections occur, the family could be required to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time while their loved one receives antibiotics.

These are only a few of the problems that someone with chronic esophageal issues could face down the road.

Legal Help for Esophageal Trauma

Someone who develops chronic problems with their esophagus could face a number of other issues as well. For example:

Medical Coverage: Someone who relies on medical equipment for the long term could have issues getting the expenses related to this equipment covered. A legal professional can provide assistance in getting insurance companies to cover these costs.

Medical Records: In some cases, medical records could be required to justify claims. These records are filled with jargon which could be difficult for the average person to understand. A legal professional can help interpret this language.

Ultimately, anyone with questions about their injuries may reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney in Sacramento for help. Chronic medical problems are a challenge that need not be faced alone.

 

Ed Smith, Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

 

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Attorney in Sacramento. If you've been seriously hurt in a motor vehicle accident, please reach out to me. My legal advice is free, friendly and available by calling 916.921.6400.

The California area's chapter of the Million Dollar Forum has inducted me as a member. The injury lawyers belonging to the forum are obtained million dollar case verdicts.

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Image Credit: Image up top was originally located at Wikimedia Commons. It is used with permission under CC BY SA License, version 3.0.

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