Acute respiratory distress syndrome, also known as ARDS, is a rapidly developing, life-threatening condition where the lungs are damaged and can no longer function. Onset of the syndrome can occur suddenly or can develop over a period of 24 hours. ARDS occurs when gas exchange deep in the lungs has been hampered, leading to dangerously low blood oxygen levels or dangerously high carbon dioxide levels in the blood.
Exposure to dangerous substances can cause ARDS by damaging or inflaming lung tissue, thereby setting off a domino effect in the lungs. For instance, chlorine, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, nitrogen dioxide, phosgene and ozone exposure are known to cause immediate lung injury, which leads to ARDS. Less water soluble gases, such as nitrogen dioxide, phosgene and ozone are particularly troubling because they do not show early warning signs (irritation) that would alert a victim to leave the area. In other scenarios, particularly after exposure to ammonia, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury, a victim may develop bronchiolitis obliterans within 10 to 14 days after exposure, but then progress to ARDS thereafter.
Lawyers in our firm are investigating cases where a person was exposed to chemical fumes and later developed bronchiolitis obliterans, or ARDS, as a result. If you have any questions about ARDS, contact Parker Miller at Parker.Miller@beasleyallen.com or by phone at 800-898-2034.
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