Many people understand that they need to evaluate themselves carefully for signs of injury after a car crash. What they may not be aware of, though, is that a condition may be subtle at first and could get worse over time.
Quite a few people leave the scene of a car crash without seeking medical care, only to realize hours or even days later that they are in desperate need of medical attention. Certain types of conditions are far more likely to go undetected at the scene of a wreck.
Traumatic brain injuries
It can take quite some time for the bruising or bleeding inside the skull caused by a car crash to cause significant symptoms. People might overlook the early warning signs of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and might then realize days later that there is something significantly wrong. TBIs often progress with time if left undiagnosed and can even produce new symptoms as someone’s condition worsens.
Spinal cord injuries
Emergency medical technicians know that they need to stabilize people who have suffered head or back injuries. If there is a possibility of a spinal cord injury, any abrupt motion or strenuous activity could potentially worsen that injury. Some people leave the scene of a crash believing they are fine, only to do something later that worsens their injury. They may then suddenly notice a loss of sensation or issues with motor function below the sight of their initial injury.
Blunt force trauma to the abdomen or chest, possibly caused by the steering column or a seat belt, could lead to internal bleeding. If someone does not see a doctor for diagnosis after a crash, that bleeding could continue. Internal bleeding can put pressure on the heart and lungs. It can also put someone at risk of symptoms related to blood loss that can put their life in danger in extreme cases.
For those involved in serious crashes, especially those that demolish vehicles, a medical evaluation could help them detect and address a potentially life-altering injury before it gets to a dangerous point. Understanding the serious health issues that people sometimes can’t fully appreciate immediately after a crash could make all the difference for those hoping to minimize the medical consequences of a collision.