A burn is damage to your body’s tissues caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, sunlight or radiation. Scalds from hot liquids and steam, building fires and flammable liquids and gases are the most common causes of burns. Another kind is inhalation injury, caused by breathing smoke.
There are three types of burns:
- First-degree burns damage only the outer layer of skin
- Second-degree burns damage the outer layer and the layer underneath
- Third-degree burns damage or destroy the deepest layer of skin and tissues underneath
Burns can cause swelling, blistering, scarring and, in serious cases, shock and even death. They also can lead to infections because they damage your skin’s protective barrier. Treatment for burns depends on the cause of the burn, how deep it is, and how much of the body it covers. Antibiotic creams can prevent or treat infections. For more serious burns, treatment may be needed to clean the wound, replace the skin, and make sure the patient has enough fluids and nutrition.
LUNG INJURIES — Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening lung condition that prevents enough oxygen from getting to the lungs and into the blood. ARDS can be caused by any major direct or indirect injury to the lung. Common causes includes: Breathing vomit into the lungs (aspiration); Inhaling chemicals; Trauma; other causes. ARDS leads to a buildup of fluid in the air sacs (alveoli). This fluid prevents enough oxygen from passing into the bloodstream. The fluid buildup also makes the lungs heavy and stiff, which decreases the lungs’ ability to expand. The level of oxygen in the blood can stay dangerously low, even if the person receives oxygen from a breathing machine (ventilator) through a breathing tube (endotracheal tube).
ARDS often occurs along with the failure of other organ systems, such as the liver or kidneys. Cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol use may be risk factors.Symptoms usually develop within 24 to 48 hours of the injury or illness. Often, people with ARDS are so sick they cannot complain of symptoms. Symptoms can include any of the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Low blood pressure and organ failure
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
Exams and Tests
Listening to the chest with a stethoscope (auscultation) reveals abnormal breath sounds, such as crackles, which may be signs of fluid in the lungs. Often, blood pressure is low. Cyanosis (blue skin, lips, and nails caused by lack of oxygen to the tissues) is often seen.
Tests used to diagnose ARDS include:
Although legal action is not the most immediate concern for most people after a serious accident on a construction site or other job site, there are many reasons to act quickly and put a solid lawyer to work for you. After a workplace accident — on a construction site or in a manufacturing plant, for example — the efforts of a proven, resourceful law firm could make a major difference for your future.
Settling for what you may receive from workers’ compensation or a voluntary insurance payout, without evaluating other legal options, could be a decision you later regret. For honest counsel backed by decades of experience, please contact our law offices.