When most people think of catastrophic injuries from an accident, they usually think of injuries to the brain or spinal cord. While these are certainly among the worst, they are not the only catastrophic injuries that can occur.
A traumatic injury to the chest can cause bone fractures or damage the vital organs in the chest. If the damage is serious enough, the injury can be deadly.
Trauma to the chest can cause a fracture to the bones of the rib cage. University of Michigan Health describes the symptoms of a rib fracture as a sharp pain in the area of impact that gets worse with pressure, e.g., lying on the affected side, or with breathing or coughing. Rib fractures can be extremely painful and sometimes lead to more serious complications.
Serious chest injuries
The chest contains most of the vital organs in the body, including the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Traumatic injury to any of these organs may cause immediate severe pain and a loss of body fluids that results in shock. Other symptoms may depend on the specific organ involved. For example, an injury to the lungs or heart may cause difficulty breathing.
A recent incident demonstrates how trauma to the chest can prove deadly if severe enough. According to WebMD, a 24-year-old hockey player with the NHL died after a blow to the chest by a malfunctioning firework mortar at a 4th of July party in Michigan. The element struck him as he was attempting to escape from the hot tub where he had been sitting. Doctors at the hospital where he traveled by ambulance pronounced him dead and determined the cause to be chest trauma.