What You Need to Know About Internal Bleeding and Personal Injury Law
External bleeding is easy to recognize, but it may not have any readily identifiable symptoms at first. Internal bleeding most commonly occurs after physical trauma and can lead to serious complications and death.
What Causes Internal Bleeding?
Internal bleeding can arise from various traumatic injuries, including:
- Broken bones. Most broken bones cause temporary internal bleeding.
- Slip and fall accidents and being struck with objects. Experiencing repeated blows to the body during an act of violence or crashing into an object with force, such as a steering wheel or the edge of the sidewalk, may cause internal bleeding.
- Compression injuries. When someone is wedged between two objects, organs and bones may rupture or break, causing internal bleeding.
- Penetration injuries. Undergoing surgery or suffering from impalement can cause internal and external bleeding injuries.
In addition to the initial cause of internal bleeding, individuals may carry factors that further complicate the situation, such as:
- Bleeding disorders. Hemophiliacs and those with other bleeding conditions may start to bleed spontaneously or at the slightest trauma.
- Poor clotting factors. Those who take blood thinners or who are unable to form blood clots naturally may face a higher degree of risk than other individuals. If their own bodies cannot slow or stop the bleeding, the seriousness of the situation may escalate quickly.
Any accident involving trauma could cause internal bleeding. Car accidents, sports, motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, bike accidents, pedestrian accidents, and acts of medical malpractice can all result in or contribute to the likelihood of an internal bleeding problem.
Will Internal Bleeding Go Away on Its Own?
Some forms of internal bleeding are more serious than others. For example, internal bleeding from a broken bone requires monitoring but typically heals on its own once the bone is set. Brain bleeds or bleeding around the heart, lungs, and other vital organs, however, are emergency situations.
If you are concerned that you have any internal bleeding, seek medical attention. Without medical equipment, you cannot self-diagnose internal bleeding or the seriousness of the situation. Go to the emergency room or call 911.
Signs and Symptoms of Internal Bleeding
Depending on the type of trauma and a person’s physiology, even minor traumas can cause internal bleeding. If you see any of the following symptoms, contact emergency services right away:
- Abnormal pain, discomfort, discoloration, and/or swelling in the abdomen after a trauma
- Dizziness, loss of consciousness, or a severe headache after head trauma
- Swelling, pain, and a feeling of tightness in the extremities, including legs and arms (typically caused by a broken bone)
- An anemia diagnosis in the aftermath of trauma or coinciding with a bleeding disorder or clotting issues
- Vomiting up a coffee ground–like substance or passing blood in the stool
- Passing blood in urine
- Feeling pressure or pain in the chest
What Can Happen if Internal Bleeding Goes Unaddressed?
Internal bleeding can result in death if left unaddressed. Other complications may include neuropathy, anemia, organ failure, paralysis, shock, coma, and brain injury. Depending on the location of the bleeding and severity of the wound, symptoms can present slowly over time or rapidly after a trauma occurs. With treatment, physicians can monitor the bleeding, reduce pressure around major organs, and replace fluids as necessary. In some cases, they may provide an antidote to blood thinning medications to improve the body’s natural ability to heal.
For severe bleeding, a patient may require emergency surgery to stop the bleeding and protect vital organs. Internal bleeding can increase the risk of stroke or an embolism as the body works to create clots and reduce the trauma.
Internal bleeding is always an emergency. When you seek emergency services, tell the attending medical provider about all medications and medical conditions. If your loved one was injured in an accident and suffered from internal bleeding, seek out the legal counsel of an experienced and successful San Diego personal injury lawyer at Estey & Bomberger, LLP for a free case evaluation.