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aekap
08-09-2010, 06:57 PM
At the end of the second book in the triology I'm working on, my MC (an 18-year old girl) suffers some broken ribs, one of which punctures her lung. I've been able to find plenty of information on symptoms of broken ribs/collapsed lungs, but not enough on how this type of injury is treated-- everything I'm finding addresses collapsed lungs do to "sucking chest wounds" or emphysema.

My question is, how would doctors (in a modern hospital) treat this? What I'm finding is that they would intubate and go in and staple the wound shut (and I'm guessing reposition the ribs), but I can't find any information about what the recovery is like. Would she have a chest tube left in place while it healed? Would she be intubated after the surgery? And how long would she be in the hospital?

My last question... would a single, really hard kick be enough to cause this kind of injury?

Thanks in advance for the help!!

Captcha
08-09-2010, 08:22 PM
I have no medical background, but for what it's worth.

My brother had recurrent spontaneous pneumothorax events when he was a teenager. The doctors told us that he was so tall and skinny and active that his own ribs had applied enough pressure to his lungs to make a hole.

They tried to treat it with bedrest (in a hospital) the first time, hoping that it would go away on its own, but it didn't. They eventually installed a chest tube (left it in for several days) to drain the air, and he also had a couple surgeries, I guess trying to patch up the lung?

He was in the hospital for a couple weeks, but like I said, that was largely because the injury kept recurring. I'm not really sure what the explanation for that was - he's in perfect health, and always has been other than this.

Anyway, that's what I know. You might find more with a search on pneumothorax rather than collapsed lung?

gracemichael
08-09-2010, 08:40 PM
I'm not a doctor either, but I've worked around the medical field and EMS for many years.

A broken rib can puncture a lung, which basically results in a collapsed lung (called a pneumothorax).

If air builds up in the chest area because of a collapsed lung, treatment will have to take place to remove that air. They do this by inserting a needle into the chest cavity. I've fortunately never had to have this done, but I can tell you that I have been in the same room with someone who had it done and they screamed bloody murder ... I can still remember it, and I don't ever want to have it done!

I would think that a kick to the chest could fracture a rib, but I don't know how hard it would have to be.

PeterL
08-09-2010, 11:27 PM
At the end of the second book in the triology I'm working on, my MC (an 18-year old girl) suffers some broken ribs, one of which punctures her lung. I've been able to find plenty of information on symptoms of broken ribs/collapsed lungs, but not enough on how this type of injury is treated-- everything I'm finding addresses collapsed lungs do to "sucking chest wounds" or emphysema.

For "sucking chest wounds" think punctured lung.

My question is, how would doctors (in a modern hospital) treat this? What I'm finding is that they would intubate and go in and staple the wound shut (and I'm guessing reposition the ribs), but I can't find any information about what the recovery is like. Would she have a chest tube left in place while it healed? Would she be intubated after the surgery? And how long would she be in the hospital?

I'm not sure of the exact treatment, but stapling and leaving a tube for drainage makes sense. Recovery time would vary with the individual, but complete recovery would take a few weeks. Someone shouldn't be in the hospital for more than a few dysunless there is complication.

My last question... would a single, really hard kick be enough to cause this kind of injury?


It could be enough.

Tsu Dho Nimh
08-10-2010, 12:11 AM
First question: what does the plot NEED?
Tell us that and we can come up with a scenario that makes it plausible.

My question is, how would doctors (in a modern hospital) treat this? What I'm finding is that they would intubate and go in and staple the wound shut (and I'm guessing reposition the ribs), but I can't find any information about what the recovery is like.
Not necessarily even that much, to as much as full-up surgery with a trauma team.

Depends on how bad the breaks are and how much lung gets damaged.

Would she have a chest tube left in place while it healed?
Maybe.

Would she be intubated after the surgery?
Maybe.

And how long would she be in the hospital?
Depends on how bad the puncture is. Tell us what the plot needs in the way fo suffering and time and we can tell you what the medical technobabble is.

My last question... would a single, really hard kick be enough to cause this kind of injury?
Yes ...

Kathie Freeman
08-14-2010, 08:58 PM
They would have to do surgery to bring the rib back to it's proper position, but they would not use staples on the lung as they would have to go back in and remove them. They would use dissolving sutures. The tube would be left in for several days.

shaldna
08-14-2010, 10:32 PM
When I broke my ribs one time (there have been two other occassions since - but I have horses, so that's normal) the intial injury left me with two broken ribs, and one punctured lung. It was the most agonising pain, and frightening too, because you can't breath properly, and you panic (i suffered a collapsed lung a few years later, and that was just as painfula nd frightening) i had to have mergency surgery, and I assume it was dissolvalbe stitiches, because I never had to go back to get anything removed.

aekap
08-15-2010, 05:40 PM
Thank you!!

Basically, I need something serious enough that my MC feels like she's going to die and needs to spend the last two chapters in the hospital (say several days or a week-- she's just about to get discharged from the hospital at the end of book 2). I need her well enough to be able to participate in some fairly serious action within about two months, though, since that's the timeframe for book 3 and she can't still be incapacitated for that.

shaldna
08-16-2010, 01:11 AM
the lung isn'tso much the issue as the ribs. in my case I honestly thought i was going to die, because there is nothing more frightening than not being able to breathe properly. but my ribs took longer to heal than it took to recover from surgery.

they say an average of 3 months for ribs, but I've broken ribs several times, and you can still feel the pain 6-8 months down the line.