More than likely, the last thing you expected when you left home to start your day was that it would end with a visit to the hospital. You may not have even been able to foresee the accident that caused your injuries, and even if you did, you didn't have time to avoid the collision. Just as other drivers are unpredictable, so are the results of your injuries.
Depending on the circumstances, the injuries you can see could be hiding a much more serious injury. Everyone has a layer of tissue, called fascia, which covers and protects groups of muscles, blood vessels and nerves. The gap between them and the fascia is called a compartment. The fascia isn't flexible and doesn't expand, which means that once swelling fills that compartment and reaches the fascia, damage could occur due to the buildup of pressure.
Identifying acute compartment syndrome
The longer your car accident injuries go without medical care, the greater the chance that compartment syndrome could develop. The following signs may indicate this condition in the injured area:
- Pale skin
- Severe pain unaffected by medication
- Decreased sensation
- Inability to move
The longer these symptoms persist, the higher the risk of permanent damage. In some cases, the muscles die, which may require amputation or other surgical intervention. Permanent injury to your nerves can occur in as little as 12 hours.
Treating acute compartment syndrome
Once diagnosed, your doctor may schedule surgery to relieve the pressure, which is causing the damage to your muscles. This involves cutting the muscles and the fascia. Without quick medical intervention, you may suffer muscle and nerve damage, which will more than likely have profound effects on your life. You could say the same thing if you lose a limb to this syndrome.
Understanding acute compartment syndrome
The alarming part is that you can't prevent this condition from occurring, but understanding the types of injuries that could lead to it may be useful. Many people suffer the following injuries in car accidents:
- Broken legs
- Crush injuries
- Severely bruised muscles
If doctors put a cast on a broken limb that becomes too tight, you could end up suffering from this condition as well.
Pursuing compensation for acute compartment syndrome
If your injuries and resulting acute compartment syndrome resulted from an accident caused by another motorist, you may be able to pursue compensation through the filing of a personal injury claim. Making use of legal resources here in San Antonio could help you understand your rights and determine your next course of action.