Degloving is one of the worst type of injuries. When such an injury occurs, the skin is literally “degloved” from the affected areas, so bone and muscle are frequently exposed.
Even if the degloved area heals, it will likely never return to normal. A degloving injury is truly a catastrophic event.
Technically, degloving is known as avulsion. While such injuries often occur on the hands, they can occur anywhere on the body.
To get an idea of how horrific such an injury is, think of the term “degloving,” and then imagine taking the skin off your hand the way you would remove a glove. The victim is left with exposed veins, muscle and bone, and blood is everywhere. Degloving is a medical emergency, and the victim has a long, hard road ahead of them.
On the job, degloving most often occurs to employees working on conveyor belts or other machinery in which the limbs may get caught. Degloving is sometimes due to exposure to toxic substances that literally remove the skin. Defective machinery is another potential degloving culprit.
A serious motor vehicle accident may cause degloving. If the victim was driving for their employer, such as making deliveries or running errands, the accident might fall under workers’ compensation rather than the victim’s health insurance.
There are two types of degloving injuries. An open degloving injury is the obvious and distressing removal of the skin from the underlying tissue. A closed degloving injury causes a space to open under the skin, and though less obvious, is equally as serious.
Workers’ Compensation and Third-Party Claims
While a degloving accident on the job is usually covered under workers’ compensation, the victim might sue third parties who bear responsibility for their accident. For example, if the degloving occurred because of defective machinery, the victim may file a claim against the machine manufacturer.
In some cases, the injury is so severe that amputation is the only recourse. Other degloving accident victims endure numerous surgeries. Dead tissue is removed, and surgeons try to save living tissue.
Because there is no protective barrier on the wound, infection is common. For this reason, doctors focus on preventing infection in the early stages of repair. If possible, revascularization of the degloved skin is attempted, but if that is not an option, the patient may receive skin grafts. Such grafts result in extensive scarring. Patients must go through long sessions of physiotherapy to learn to reuse the degloved limb.
Not only is treatment for degloving intense and painful, but such treatment is extremely expensive. Even in the best situations, the victim is likely to suffer from permanent nerve damage, and the hand or other affected body part will appear disfigured.
The severe pain associated with degloving requires long-term pain medication, and the pain may never go away.
South Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law Firm of Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP Advocate for Employees Suffering Degloving Injuries
If you or a loved one have suffered a degloving injury while on the job, you need the services of the experienced South Jersey workers’ compensation law firm of Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP. To learn more, call our legal team today at 856-522-4124 or contact us online for a free consultation. Our office is centrally located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and we serve clients in the City of Camden, across South Jersey, and throughout the state.