Q: How can I tell if my spleen was injured in a crash with a semi?
It is very rare for a spleen to rupture; however, in a violent crash it is possible that the collision could result in a ruptured spleen. If the left side of your body suffered a blow in the crash, your spleen could have been damaged. The spleen is a soft, spongy organ located under your ribcage on the left side of your body. Because it is protected by your ribs, most accidents don’t result in a ruptured spleen. However, if you were in a violent crash, such as a collision with a large commercial truck, you may have suffered broken ribs and some abdominal and chest injuries, which could cause a tear in your spleen.
If your lower chest or upper abdomen were injured in the wreck, the spleen could rupture immediately. If this occurs, it is life-threatening and will require immediate medical attention. In some cases, injured spleens may take several days to break open. In either event, ruptured spleens cause internal bleeding and are considered a medical emergency.
If you are experiencing blurred vision, lightheadedness, confusion, or if you fainted, it is critical that you seek immediate medical care. These are all signs of internal bleeding. In addition to these signs, you may also be able to determine if your spleen was injured by asking yourself the following questions:
- Does your abdomen feel hard?
- Are you experiencing pain in your left abdomen and left shoulder?
- Does your upper abdomen feel tender to the touch?
If you answered “yes” to these questions or if you are experiencing any of the signs of internal bleeding, seek medical care immediately.