The hours and days after a car accident can be a blur. Not only must you deal with the severe pain that often comes from an accident-related injury, but you also may have to figure out how to support yourself without working.
The symptoms of even catastrophic injuries, such as internal bleeding or organ damage, may not show up right away. Therefore, you should not put off seeking a full medical examination. If you have clear fluid dripping from your ears or nose, though, you must go to the hospital immediately.
Cerebrospinal fluid is a watery substance that surrounds your brain and spinal cord. This fluid not only provides support for your central nervous system, but it also delivers oxygen and vital nutrients. The thin membrane that encases cerebrospinal fluid, the meninges, may rupture in a car crash.
If you have a cerebrospinal fluid leak, clear fluid may flow from your nose or ears. Losing too much fluid may allow your brain to sag in your skull. Sagging-related pressure may cause your brain to sustain damage. Likewise, if your meninges ruptures, bacteria may work their way into your brain or spinal column, resulting in a potentially deadly infection.
For minor cerebrospinal fluid leaks, doctors often order bed rest. If you have a more serious leak, though, you may need an epidural blood patch. Either way, until the leak resolves, your doctor is likely to monitor you closely and restrict your daily activities.
Even though diagnosing and treating a cerebrospinal fluid leak is likely to be expensive, you should not let high medical costs dissuade you from receiving the care you need to recover from your catastrophic brain injury. After all, the driver who caused the accident may owe you substantial financial compensation.