Everyone knows that car accidents are a risk anytime someone gets into a motor vehicle. While car accidents can range from relatively minor fender-benders to serious, multi-car pileups, even the smallest of car accidents can result in serious injuries.
Some injuries are unavoidable; however, other injuries can result from negligence from another party. It is essential that everyone understands the injuries that can result from car accidents and one of the most serious conditions is called an epidural hematoma.
What is an Epidural Hematoma?
In general, a hematoma is a collection or pocket of blood in an area that it shouldn’t occur. An epidural hematoma is a collection of blood in the epidural space of the skull. In this case, the epidural space is located between the dura, or lining of the brain, and the skull. The problem with blood collecting in this space is that this blood can build up and compress the brain. This can cause serious symptoms that might even result in death.
How does an Epidural Hematoma Occur?
An epidural hematoma occurs when serious trauma is applied to the temple region of the skull. Specifically, a sudden traumatic force will sever an artery in the brain called the middle meningeal artery. Severing this artery means that blood leaks into the epidural space and builds up over time. Eventually, this blood compresses the brain and causes severe brain damage.
What are the Symptoms of an Epidural Hematoma?
The symptoms of an epidural hematoma can be relatively benign at first. In fact, some patients may even be asymptomatic, making this injury dangerous. Someone may have a severe headache at first that disappears after a few minutes. This is called the “lucid period.” Eventually, the blood builds up and the person loses consciousness. If emergent medical treatment isn’t administered immediately, the patient will die.
Diagnosis of an Epidural Hematoma
Diagnosis first relies on recognition of the symptoms and the risk of an epidural hematoma. If there is any suspicion of an epidural hematoma, a CT scan will be ordered. This will reveal the epidural hematoma and emergent treatment will be started.
Treatment of an Epidural Hematoma
If an epidural hematoma is diagnosed, the patient will be rushed to neurosurgery immediately. Neurosurgery will drain the epidural hematoma and remove a part of the skull to allow the brain to swell if necessary. Removing a portion of the skull will allow the brain to swell without herniation, which is the cause of death in this condition. Once the brain recovers and the swelling reduces, the skull flap is replaced.
An epidural hematoma is a serious condition that can result in death from a car accident. Anyone with serious injuries from a car accident should contact a legal professional for help. It may help to relieve some of the financial stress from medical bills.