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Complications from Broken Ribs


To many people, a broken rib sounds like a relatively minor injury that, although painful, should heal on its own in a few months. The reality, however, is that broken ribs can cause potentially life-threatening complications and require expensive treatment, so if you were recently injured in an accident in Florida, is it is important to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney about your legal options for recovering compensation.

Types of Rib Fractures

Ribs are generally pretty difficult to break because they are surrounded by strong muscles. It is possible, however, for them to fracture or completely break, especially when a victim suffers a significant chest trauma. Displaced ribs, in particular, occur when a rib snaps completely and are much more likely to result in punctured lungs and other organ damage. Ribs that break, but are not completely broken, on the other hand, stay in place and so are referred to as non-displaced rib fractures. In rare cases, a section of a person’s rib cage will actually break away from the muscle and bone, causing potentially life threatening complications.

Punctured Lungs

Ribs that don’t merely crack, but that break in two pose some of the greatest risks to accident victims, who could suffer a punctured or collapsed lung. Symptoms that indicate this type of injury include difficulty breathing, chest pain, and a rapid heart rate. When discovered early enough, these injuries are treatable, although they may still require the insertion of a chest tube, surgery, artificial ventilation, and a blood transfusion.

Elderly patients are at an especially high risk of contracting pneumonia after a rib injury, as the pain prevents them from taking deep breaths, which in turn, can cause mucous and moisture in the lungs to build up, resulting in an infection.

Aorta Injury

The aorta is the largest artery in the body, emerging from the heart and extending to the abdomen where it supplies oxygen and blood throughout the body. Unfortunately, the aorta could become punctured or torn if one of a person’s top three ribs are broken. Failing to obtain treatment as soon as possible could prove deadly for patients, who could suffer from severe blood loss.

Organ Damage

The lower ribs that are not anchored to the breastbone are more flexible. While this makes it more difficult for them to break, their lack of anchoring could result in serious injuries. For instance, if one or more of these ribs break, a person could suffer a torn or punctured spleen, liver, or kidney. Those who suffer broken ribs in an accident should keep an eye out for pain in the abdomen or lower back, which could indicate internal organ damage.

Schedule a Free Case Review with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

At Boone & Davis our personal injury attorneys have been helping clients across the state recover compensation for their accident-related losses for decades. To learn more about how an experienced lawyer could help with your own case, please call our office at 954-566-9919 today.




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