Collapsed lungs, which may result from trauma, lung damage or other problems, can cause additional injuries or death if not promptly diagnosed and treated. Illinois residents should understand the signs of collapsed lungs so that they can seek medical attention for themselves and others who are demonstrating the symptoms. If residents with collapsed lungs are not properly diagnosed with lung collapses after seeking treatment and suffer further injury, injury lawyers may offer help.
Collapsed Lung Causes and Symptoms
Lungs collapse for multiple reasons, including trauma such as from car accidents, falls, punctures; from lung damage caused by such things as cancer, tuberculosis, and other conditions; and from bursting blebs on the surface of the lung walls. The symptoms of a collapsed lung will depend on the severity of the collapse. They might include rapid heartbeat, a bluish skin hue, fatigue, chest tightness, low blood pressure and nostrils that flare when breathing. No matter how mild the symptoms might be, it is important for those who suspect lung collapses to seek treatment immediately.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Collapsed Lungs
When patients present to the emergency treatment because of experiencing symptoms that could indicate a collapsed lung, doctors normally listen to the lungs with their stethoscopes. If they then suspect the lung has collapsed, they may confirm their diagnoses with lung x-rays or CT scans. For minor collapses, doctors will normally just observe and monitor the patients. If the collapse covers a larger area, they may first try to relieve the pressure that the excess air is placing on the lung by inserting a needle and withdrawing some of it. Surgery may be necessary when the lung is leaking air to suture the tear or the ruptured bleb.
If a collapsed lung is not promptly diagnosed and treated, the patient may suffer from respiratory failure and death. It is difficult for doctors to diagnose collapsed lungs through physical examinations alone. Doctors may also misdiagnose patients because their symptoms may be similar to those of other medical problems such as heart attacks. If the doctors do not use the same standard of care that reasonable doctors would in similar circumstances such as by not ordering a chest x-ray or CT scan, the doctors may be liable for medical malpractice. Injury lawyers review medical records to make initial determinations about whether or not malpractice likely occurred.