The most important thing to know about the spleen is this: a ruptured spleen is a greater threat to life than living without a spleen.
The spleen is a soft, spongy organ located on the left side of the body at the division between the chest and abdominal cavities. It’s connected to the circulatory and lymphatic system, and it also functions as part of the immune system.
The spleen filters the blood, removing old blood cells and storing an extra supply of red blood cells to be released into the bloodstream in emergencies. It recycles the body’s supply of iron and helps the liver process old hemoglobin into bile. The spleen also helps the body create antibodies to treat infections.
For all its useful functions, the spleen is not absolutely vital to life. If the organ has been damaged, it can be surgically removed and the patient will be able to survive with a few minor lifestyle changes. This is fortunate, because Pennsylvania auto accidents often inflict ruptured spleen injuries.
Ruptured spleen: a life-endangering crisis
The sudden blunt trauma of a traffic accident can break open many internal organs, and the spleen is fragile enough for this to be a danger. A second level of risk comes from the ribs; if an auto collision in Pennsylvania fractures a rib, the sharp shards of bone can puncture the outer envelope of the spleen (called the splenic capsule). We should note, though, that this may not happen during or immediately after a Dauphin County car crash. The spleen may be nicked or bruised early on, but may not split open for days after the original injury.
When the spleen is pierced or ruptured, blood pours out—lots of blood. Intense internal bleeding into the abdominal cavity is the hallmark of a spleen injury. Typical symptoms of a ruptured spleen and internal bleeding include:
- Tenderness or pain in the upper left side of the abdomen
- Referred pain in the left shoulder.
- Rigidity in the abdomen
- Lightheadedness and fainting
The spleen is directly connected to the circulatory system, so the rest of the body starts to become deprived of oxygen and nutrients when a ruptured spleen causes an internal hemorrhage. This is a life-threatening event that requires emergency medical care to save the patient’s life. Surgery may be able to repair the spleen, but the usual course is to remove it and close the blood vessels.
What to do if your Pennsylvania car accident has ruptured your spleen
Surgery for a ruptured spleen or any other internal injury is a risky and expensive proposition. If someone else was responsible for your Pennsylvania auto accident, it may be in your best interest to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to cover your medical expenses, lost time from work, emotional distress, and other losses.
Our Harrisburg car accident lawyers have years of experience delivering outstanding results for our traffic accident clients. At Schmidt Kramer, we work with clients from central Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the state to get the maximum compensation available under the law. We can often secure a good settlement—even for clients covered by limited-tort insurance. Call us today at (717) 888-8888 or (717) 888-8888 toll-free to schedule an attorney review of your case at NO CHARGE to you. At your request, we’ll even send you a FREE copy of our information-packed report, Who Pays The Bills When You Are Injured In An Automobile Accident?