Shock After an Accident Can be Deadly
If you are injured in an accident, the injury itself is usually the first priority. But there is another, perhaps more dangerous, secondary condition, that can potentially kill people after an accident: shock.
Shock after being injured in an accident is common, and it is something that accident victims and those around them need to be aware of.
How Shock Happens
Biologically, shock occurs when the body’s blood pressure falls, which is a reaction that the body naturally produces after an accident, injury or trauma, in order to save blood for the organs. But that actually prevents oxygen from getting to the organs, which can, in turn, lead to shut down of the internal organs.
Shock involves restricted blood flow, but there are a number of ways that can happen after an accident. In some cases, the heart has sustained a direct injury, which makes it unable to pump blood the way it normally would. In other cases, in what is called obstructive shock, the injury itself stops blood from getting to where it needs to be—excessive bleeding is a typical example (and the most common after an accident), or injury to a limb that creates a “roadblock” preventing the blood from circulating properly.
The nervous system can also be damaged, such as with septic shock, which is related to infection (and thus, is usually longer term, as opposed to right after an accident). The damage to the nervous system makes it impossible to get blood throughout the body.
The Symptoms to Look For
Shock can be hard to stop or see because it can be difficult to tell which symptoms are from the primary injury that the body is dealing with, and which symptoms are related to the body going into shock.
Typical symptoms invoke rapid heartbeat, pale skin, dizziness, excessive sweating, and even seizures. The skin may become clammy, and the person may appear confused or lightheaded. Low blood pressure is an obvious symptom, but most people at the scene of an accident won’t immediately have the ability to measure blood pressure.
It is possible to go into psychological shock, where there is no physical injury to the body. The trauma of witnessing an accident, or perhaps from being in an accident yourself, even if you didn’t sustain serious physical injury, can lead to shock. The human body perceives a life-threatening event, or the proximity to one, and an inability to escape the situation. That can lead to an immediate drop in blood pressure.
Long term psychological shock often mimics the symptoms of PTSD after an accident. Things like overreaction to situations, feeling “frozen” or numb, being highly irritable, or avoiding similar situations irrationally (such as not driving because you were in a car accident) are typical symptoms.
Did you go into shock after a fall, or other type of accident? Call the Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, for a free consultation to discuss getting compensation for what you are going through.