A crush incident occurs when part of a person’s body – or their entire body, in some cases – ends up pinned, run over, crushed or buried by something larger and/or heavier than it.
Obviously, such injuries are more often serious in nature than not. It is important for victims to get immediate medical attention, because the repercussions could end up devastating and even lethal otherwise.
Risk of infection and tissue death
Up To Date discusses the impact of crush injuries on the body. First, crush injuries will have different primary risks depending on the part of the body they involve.
Injuries to the limbs or extremities will include crush injuries that involve the hands, feet, legs and arms. Typically speaking, infection proves the biggest risk for such injuries. This is due to the speed at which cell death occurs in limbs after oxygen and blood supply get cut off.
It can take mere hours for a limb with no oxygen to start experiencing cell death. The tissue can necrotize, leaving open wounds for bacteria on the flesh to get in. Gangrene proves a common foe, which often results in amputations. It is also possible for blood infections like sepsis to occur, which can prove fatal quickly.
Risk of organ failure
As for injuries to the trunk, organ damage serves as the biggest risk. Organs can fail and shut down if they have to deal with extended traumatic pressure, or if the blood and oxygen supply gets cut off. This can lead to liver failure, heart attacks, kidney failure, seizures, and more. Of course, if the chest gets compressed too much, it can also suffocate a person because they cannot breathe fully.
All of these risks show why it is important for victims of crush injuries to have appropriate and rapid medical help.