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One of the most severe consequences of traumatic injury involves spinal cord injuries. These injuries usually result in the loss of mobility and can cause permanent physical, not to mention, emotional disabilities. Spinal cord injuries decrease the quality of life through chronic pain and loss of movement. Minor injuries affect daily living and major injuries can cause paralysis or even death.
Spinal cord injuries come in different levels including paraplegia (partial paralysis) and quadriplegia (full paralysis).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), traumatic spinal cord injuries affect approximately 250,000 to 500,000 people worldwide each year. In the United States, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reports that there are approximately 17,700 new cases of spinal cord injuries each year. These injuries affect people of all ages, with males being more likely to sustain them than females.
Spinal Cord Injury Effects
The effects of spinal injuries due to trauma can vary greatly depending on the severity and location of the injury. The spinal cord is a vital part of the body that transmits messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Injuries to the spinal cord can result in a loss of sensation, movement, and function in various parts of the body.
Injuries to the cervical (neck) region of the spine can result in quadriplegia, which is paralysis of the arms, legs, and torso. Individuals with quadriplegia often require assistance with all aspects of daily living, including personal care, mobility, and communication.
Injuries to the thoracic (upper back) or lumbar (lower back) regions of the spine can result in paraplegia, which is paralysis of the legs and lower torso. Individuals with paraplegia may be able to perform many activities of daily living independently, but may require assistance with mobility and some personal care tasks.
Spinal injuries can also have other effects on an individual's health and well-being. These may include respiratory problems, bladder and bowel dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, and decreased cardiovascular health. Additionally, spinal injuries can have significant psychological effects, such as depression, anxiety, and loss of self-esteem.
Spinal cord injuries have a long-lasting impact on every aspect of the victim's life. From doing simple every day activities to building relationships with others, the victim's daily life will forever be changed. So will the need for long-term medical care, changes in transportation, housing, and many other day-to-day activities that we take for granted. Sometimes, a nerve stimulator is required to enable the victim to return to their normal daily activities. Unfortunately, nerve stimulators are very expensive. Sometimes a fusion of two bones is required which is not only expensive, but has serious long-term consequences for the injured person.
Costs of Caring for Spinal Cord Injuries
Specialists, like life care planners, might be needed to calculate the long-term costs of your care and future lost wages if you've suffered from this type of injury.
Extensive medical care is necessary for recovery, even though a full recovery may not be possible. Spinal cord injury treatments can be very costly and in some cases, the victim may not be able to return to their occupation. A large concern for many victims is paying for future medical care. As a result, it's critical to hire experienced spinal cord injury lawyers.
The outcomes of treatment for spinal injuries due to trauma can vary greatly depending on the severity and location of the injury. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the following statistics apply to individuals with spinal cord injuries in the United States:
- The average age at injury is 43 years old.
- The average length of hospital stay is 36 days.
- The average rehabilitation stay is 31 days.
- The average yearly expenses for individuals with spinal cord injuries can range from $365,000 to $1.3 million, depending on the severity of the injury.
- The majority of spinal cord injuries (about 80%) are considered incomplete, meaning that the individual retains some degree of sensory or motor function below the level of the injury.
- Incomplete injuries have a better prognosis than complete injuries. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, approximately 80% of individuals with incomplete injuries are able to walk after rehabilitation, while only about 7% of individuals with complete injuries are able to walk.
- However, even individuals with incomplete injuries may experience significant limitations in their activities of daily living. According to a study published in the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, only about 44% of individuals with incomplete cervical injuries were able to perform all of their activities of daily living independently, and only about 66% of individuals with incomplete thoracic injuries were able to do so.
- The level of injury also has a significant impact on outcomes. According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, individuals with injuries at or above the C4 level (the fourth cervical vertebra) may require a ventilator to assist with breathing, while individuals with injuries at or above the T6 level (the sixth thoracic vertebra) may experience autonomic dysreflexia, a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur when the body's normal response to pain or discomfort is disrupted.
- The cost of treatment for spinal cord injuries can be significant. In addition to the yearly expenses mentioned earlier, individuals with spinal cord injuries may also incur significant costs for home modifications, assistive devices, and ongoing medical care. According to a study published in the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, the lifetime cost of care for an individual with a spinal cord injury can range from $1.6 million to $4.7 million, depending on the level and severity of the injury.
- Despite the challenges associated with spinal cord injuries, many individuals with these injuries are able to lead fulfilling and productive lives. With the right medical care, rehabilitation, and support, individuals with spinal cord injuries can learn to adapt to their limitations and achieve their goals. Many individuals with spinal cord injuries are able to pursue careers, participate in sports and recreation, and maintain active social lives.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries We Have Helped People With
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Injuries causing radiating pain
- Paraplegia injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Herniated or ruptured discs
Need a Lawyer? We Can Help.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a spinal cord injury in Austin, then contact our experienced spinal cord injury lawyers to discuss your legal rights and recover the monetary compensation that you need and deserve. We understand what you need both for now and for the future. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can start helping you. Call (512) 246-9191 or fill in the form.