Trauma ICU RN.. educated guess is he fracutured a couple rib
Posted: Mar 22, 2014 3:55 PM
and developed a pneumothorax. A pneumothorax is when air gets in between the lung and chest cavity making it so the lung cannot fully expand which would explain his shortness of breath. Treatment can be anything from observation if the pneumothorax is small/stable and his breathing is ok or it can require the placement of chest tube to allow the air to escape and the lung to fully re-expand. Either can be serious, but really are pretty routine and easy to treat. Minus rib/clavicle fracture, he could be discharged in a few days at the longest without any lasting effect from the pneumothorax.