Internal injuries refer to wounds that occur to major thoracic or abdominal organs. When an organ is severely damaged in an accident, it can lead to organ failure of one of one or more of the major functions of the body. How a vehicle accident victim is affected by damage to a major organ depends upon the severity of the injury and its location.
Causes of Internal Organ DamageThere are many types of accidents that can result in internal organ damage. Most of them are preventable. Vehicle accidents – far and away the largest cause – lead the list of the most common accidents that cause internal organ damage. Others can include:
- Contact sports injuries
- Electrical shock
- Surgical errors
- Medication side effects
- Drownings and near-drownings.
Brain InjuryA sudden jolt or blow to the head can cause the brain to be violently pushed against the inside of the skull. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be as mild as a slight concussion or severe enough to cause permanent brain damage, paralysis, and even death. Many times someone who suffers a TBI appears to recover relatively quickly. But other times, blood will slowly seep from the damaged area of the brain and build up inside the skull, placing pressure on the brain that – if not corrected by emergency surgery – can kill or permanently disable the victim. An overwhelming body of research over the past 15 years has found that repeated mild concussions (like the type boxers, football, soccer, and hockey players experience) lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE has also been undeniably linked to the development of dementia. Anoxia and Hypoxia, which result in the brain’s being oxygen-starved, can not only cause irreparable (or fatal) brain damage, but also seriously harm internal organs (most notably the heart, lungs and liver) and cause cerebral palsy.
Chest InjuriesThe chest (the thoracic area of the body) holds some of our most vital organs, such as the heart and lungs. Chest injuries can occur from broken ribs that splinter and puncture these vital organs. Deep bruising of the heart and lungs without the occurrence of broken bones (and subsequent splintering) can be just as dangerous. Blood can seep from these injured areas and accumulate over a period of days or even weeks until emergency surgery becomes necessary in order to save the victim’s life.
Abdominal InjuriesAccidents and surgical errors can cause damage to important organs like the stomach, spleen, intestines, kidneys and liver – which alone is involved in over 50 vital bodily functions. A punctured or ruptured intestine or bowel can lead to infections and produce a potentially fatal injury called sepsis, which can lead to shock, shutting down some bodily functions completely: requiring emergency lifesaving surgery; and a possible extended recovery.
Symptoms of Internal InjuriesThere are many warning signs that an injured victim is experiencing internal injuries. And though the list is long, some of the most common symptoms can include:
- Abdominal swelling, or noticeable swelling in other areas where an affected organ has been damaged
- Discolored skin or deep bruising in or near the affected organ
- Tightness or, in some cases, tingling in the affected body part
- Nausea, especially if a brain injury has occurred
- Severe headaches or vision difficulties – also most often associated with TBI
- Lightheadedness or, in some cases, fainting.
Legal Damages for Internal Organ Damage that May be Recoverable in KentuckyIf you have suffered injury or a loved one has suffered a wrongful death due to internal organ damage caused by the negligence of others, you are entitled to demand any of the following damages from the person or entities responsible for the accident:
- All your medical bills for as long as you’re being treated – or rehabilitated – from your injury
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity if you are permanently disabled
- Wrongful death damages, including survivor damages for family members.
Da Vinci Robotic Surgery Injuries
The name “da Vinci” likely brings to mind the “Mona Lisa” or “The Last Supper.” Maybe the “Vitruvian Man” or sketches of flying machines. Perhaps you think of Dan Brown’s book “The da Vinci Code” or a certain teenage mutant ninja turtle with the forename “Leonardo.” What you may not have heard of is the da Vinci Robot.Controlled by a surgeon from a console, this robot was designed to make complex surgery easier using a minimally invasive approach. Commonly used since the year 2000 for hysterectomies and prostatectomies, this surgical system is now being used increasingly for cardiac valve repair. However, its $2 million cost places it beyond the reach of many institutions.
Benefits to robotic surgery compared with traditional surgery include smaller incisions, shorter hospital stays and less pain after the operation. Yet, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared robotically assisted hysterectomies with traditional laparoscopic surgeries over a three-year period and found the former added an average of $2,000 in costs per procedure, with no significant clinical advantages. While the use of robotic surgical systems is expanding, there have been some concerns that problems with the systems have been underreported to the FDA.
For example, researchers examining a 12-year period found 245 incidents reported to the FDA, including 71 deaths and 174 nonfatal injuries.But they also found eight cases in which reporting fell short, including five cases in which no FDA report was filed at all. Many patients have also complained that they were only given promotional information touting the benefits of the system and did not hear about potential complications resulting from defects.
There have also been a growing number of complaints that robotics surgery left patients with burns and other heat-related damage to intestines, ureter, bowels and other organs. While both modern and conventional methods use monopolar energy that can create excessive heat, failure in insulation can cause the current to arc and send sparks leaping somewhere other than where the current is directed. A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found that robotic instruments have a significantly higher incidence and prevalence of insulation failure compared with more traditional instruments. Furthermore, it seems that many doctors are not provided with training adequate to operate such a complicated machine.
Several Kentucky hospitals have da Vinci systems, including Norton Suburban Hospital in Louisville, Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington, the Medical Center in Bowling Green and Methodist Hospital in Henderson. A lawsuit was filed in March against Baptist Health Lexington alleging that the da Vinci system’s technical malfunctions, including the tendency to cause burns, resulted in the perforation of the plaintiff’s rectum and caused him to suffer from physical and emotional injuries, including rectal injury, fistulas, infections and blood clots. The plaintiff claims that he was injured as a direct result of the use of the robotic arm, and that he is now required to wear an external pouch known as an ileostomy to collect waste directly from the intestine.
The Johnson Law Firm Helps Accident Victims Suffering Internal Organ DamageOrgan damage can be painful, require extensive – often ongoing – medical treatment and, in extreme cases, can be life-threatening. Survivors of internal injuries can experience health complications that can last for years, and even a lifetime. These situations result in additional medical bills, lost work time, diminished work capabilities and poor quality of life.
Surviving family members also encounter many challenges stemming from the tragic, sudden loss of a loved one due to organ failure following an accident. They must deal with lost income if the family member worked, medical bills leading up to the family member’s death, funeral expenses, burial costs, and a variety of other end-of-life costs.
If you or a family member suffers from accident-related internal organ damage, please contact the seasoned Pikeville, Kentucky, injury attorney Billy Johnson immediately! You can call toll-free 606-437-4488 or fill out our online form to arrange a free evaluation of your case. Since we work on a contingency basis, you don’t pay until we collect legal damages for you.