Learning that you suffered a spinal cord injury is a devastating blow. You might realize that your life is now going to be much different than what it was prior to the accident.
There are several points that everyone should know about spinal cord injuries. Whether you were the person who was injured or a person who is close to the victim, these might help you:
The prognosis of a person who has this type of injury varies greatly. Generally, people today face a better prognosis than what they did before World War II. Back then, people who had an injured spinal cord were essentially handed a death sentence. Urinary tract infections, pneumonia and other infections were likely going to kill them. Now, most impacts of a spinal cord injury can be medically managed and the victim can go on to live a full life, even if it is much different than the life they lived before.
Urgency of care
Prompt care after the accident is necessary. In fact, this can have a significant impact on the outcome. Doctors have to see if there are any manageable issues that might compromise the spinal cord. These include areas that are compressed by blood clots, bones or herniated disks.
If any of these conditions are noted, they should be addressed quickly. Historically, surgeons would wait for some of the swelling to come down before they operated. This is now known to cause more harm than good. Patients who are suffering from spinal cord compression are likely going to have surgery almost immediately.
Severity of injuries varies
The severity of a spinal cord injury will vary. Typically, patients with a complete injury aren't going to fare as well as someone with an incomplete injury. When there is an incomplete injury, it can take 18 months or even longer for the person to recover function. Often, this will require intense therapy.
Many people think that a spinal cord injury is a single event. This isn't the case. The initial injury is only one factor that impacts severity. The trauma can cause death of the spinal nerve cells or damage them.
Problems continue in the days after the initial trauma. The release of toxic chemicals at the injury site and a loss of oxygen can do more damage to the spinal cord.
The cost of living with a spinal cord injury is high. The first year after the injury is usually the most expensive. Victims of accidents that lead to spinal cord injuries might choose to seek compensation for those injuries.