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When a broken bone is more serious than just a break

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2020 | Firm News |

The motor vehicle accidents that happen on roadways across the country, including many here in Texas, result in a variety of injuries — some minor, some severe and some deadly. An injury that you could easily suffer in a serious accident is a broken bone.

Breaking a bone is bad enough, but if you suffer an open fracture, also called a compound fracture, things get more complicated and more serious in a hurry. If you suffer this type of injury, you will most assuredly need surgery, and your recovery could take longer than a broken bone that does not break through your skin. In addition, you also suffer another risk that could threaten your life: infection.

What defines an open or compound fracture?

The primary distinction in an open or compound fracture is that the break is so severe that the bone penetrates the skin. Make no mistake, if you suffer this injury, you need immediate medical attention, which probably is not surprising considering the circumstances.

What may surprise you is that the most concerning factor in an open fracture isn’t the broken bone. Doctors are most concerned about the risk of infection. As is the case with any open wound, as soon as air hits it, the wound risks contamination from bacteria, viruses and debris. However, unlike a scrape, scratch or cut, an open fracture makes you vulnerable to infection all the way into your bone.

What should you expect from treatment?

Ordinarily, the first order of business once you are in the hospital is surgery. The wound needs to be debrided, or cleaned out, and then irrigated to make sure the wound is as clean as possible. Only then will a surgeon turn his or her attention to setting the bone. Doctors will also give you antibiotics to help your body fight any infection that may have already begun.

You may need to stay in the hospital for a while so doctors can make sure you are stable and the wound is not infected. Your recovery will depend on the severity of the wound along with whether you contracted an infection. If the infection is in your bone, you will most likely need additional surgeries, more medications and a longer recovery period.

What can you expect if the other driver caused the crash?

If the evidence indicates that the other driver caused the accident, and therefore, your injuries, you may exercise your right to file a personal injury claim pursuing the compensation you deserve and need as you work through this challenging time in your life. Fortunately, you do not have to pursue compensation on your own. An experienced attorney could advocate on your behalf while you focus on your recovery.