Crush injuries are among the most dangerous. These injuries can happen suddenly if a person is trapped while working on a vessel or pinned between two heavy objects anywhere. They can happen because of explosions if debris lands on someone and cuts off the circulation to their limbs, too.
It’s possible to survive a crush injury in some cases, but acute cases are life-threatening. When any part of the body is crushed, cells begin to break down. Tissues and muscles release damaging toxins, and they build up in the area that has been trapped by a heavy object.
When that object is released, all of those toxins quickly spread throughout the body. This is why some people who are crushed below the knees, for example, still talk and chat normally while the object is in place, but they quickly go into shock once the object is removed.
What happens to the body during a crush injury?
With a crush injury, there are two problems: compartment syndrome and crush syndrome. Compartment syndrome happens when the pressure in an area that has been injured builds up, causing pain that is disproportionate to outward signs of injury. Without good circulation, the tissues can die. Amputation is a possibility in some instances.
Crush syndrome occurs when blood is allowed to flow back throughout the body from the crushed area. Once that pressure is removed, all of the muscle cell contents, such as myoglobin and potassium, flood the body. It’s common for the victim to go into shock because of the toxins. Emergency medical technicians need to be on the scene to give life-saving medications to help prevent damage to the internal organs as well as to avoid life-threatening dysrhythmias.
Any crushing force has the potential to cause life-changing injuries, so victims need prompt medical care. The sooner they get help, the less likely it is for the syndromes to develop when the object is removed. If your injury was caused by someone else’s actions or negligence or while you were working, find out what your options are for seeking compensation to cover your expenses and damages.