North Carolina residents can suffer a collapsed lung if they experience trauma in the chest area or from certain lung diseases and disorders. Because a collapsed lung can result in complications, it is important for a person who suffers from this type of injury to seek immediate medical attention.
A collapsed lung occurs when the air that normally stays in the lung leaks into the pleural space between the lung and the chest wall. As the air escapes, it puts pressure on the lung, preventing it from functioning properly. In most cases, only a portion of the lung collapses, leaving a person with shortness of breath. However, in severe cases, a collapsed lung could cause a person to go into cardiac arrest, respiratory failure and shock.
Collapsed lungs are most often caused by some sort of trauma to the chest area. Some traumatic events that could cause a collapsed lung include a rib fracture, a blow to the chest, vigorous CPR or surgeries in the chest area. Collapsed lungs often have certain associated symptoms, including a tight feeling in the chest area, bluish skin tone and a rapid heartbeat, among others. If the collapsed lung is treated promptly, the risk of future complications decrease.
If a surgeon is not careful, a collapsed lung could also occur as a result of a surgical error. Although the prognosis for collapsed lungs are generally positive, it can make the recovery from the surgery more difficult. It can even cause a patient to be hospitalized for a longer period of time. If the collapsed lung was caused by negligence, the patient may want to meet with an attorney to see what options for recourse might be available.