Chest pain after a fall? You could have a punctured lung

| May 21, 2020 | Construction Accidents

As you probably know, falls take the lives of many construction workers each year. Others are seriously hurt as a result of falls, resulting in workers’ compensation claims.

When you fell, it wasn’t far. You landed unusually, though, and that caused big problems. You fractured a rib, and it ended up puncturing your lung. You felt like you couldn’t breathe, and you were in a serious, life-threatening situation.

A punctured lung is possible when a rib breaks and pushes inward. The sharp break can enter the tissue and tear or puncture the lung. After the lining is damaged, air won’t move correctly. Instead, it will build up between the layers of the tissues lining the lungs. This is called pneumothorax.

Traumatic pneumothorax happens when the bone collapses the lung due to creating a hole in it. The symptoms are fairly straightforward and include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble taking in a deep breath
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Blue skin

Generally, the collapse only happens on one side, so you’ll keep breathing despite it. With a severe puncture wound or debris in the chest, you may end up needing surgery to set your rib and to repair damage to the lung. In minor cases, smaller pneumothoraxes may heal on their own. Patients who are allowed to heal on their own are closely monitored and may be given oxygen as they rest and recover.

An injury like this can take six to eight weeks to recover from. It may take longer depending on any complications and the level of injury that was suffered. Additionally, the kind of treatment given may also impact the length of your recovery. If you want to learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim for your on-the-job injury, an experienced attorney can provide information and guidance.

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