One injury that can occur in many types of accidents is damage to the spinal cord. This can be a temporary problem, but it can also lead to lifelong issues that impact every aspect of your life. For the victims of this type of injury and the loved ones who support them, there are some important points to know.
Because the exact manner in which a spinal cord injury affects a person is unique, it is imperative that anyone working with someone who has this type of issue listen to that person. This can give you an idea of what they need and what they want. Ultimately, the goal is to help them to live as full of a life as possible.
What areas of the body are impacted?
The areas of the body that are impacted by the spinal cord injury are always below where the injury is. This means that a lower spinal cord injury won't affect the arms, but it can affect the legs. The internal organs, including the lungs, stomach and intestines, can all be affected by a spinal cord injury, so people will sometimes need to use medical devices, such as ventilators, to address these problems.
The extent of the loss of use and sensation of the limbs determines what type of paralysis the victim has. If there are four limbs that are affected, the person has quadriplegia, which is sometimes known as tetraplegia. If there are two limbs that are impacted, the person has paraplegia.
On top of those designations, there are classifications for the type of injury that you suffered. An incomplete injury is one in which you still have some movement, function or sensation in some limbs below the level of the damage to the spinal cord. In a complete injury, there is no sensation, movement or function below that level.
How are these injuries treated?
Injuries to the spinal cord are treated through a variety of methods. The top priority when the injury occurs is stabilizing the patient, which starts at the time of the accident and continues once the person is admitted into the hospital. Trying to reduce swelling and inflammation is often next. Depending on the severity and type of injury, working toward some recovered function is possible. These treatment programs must be customized so that the patient has the best chance of healing.
Another thing that people who have this injury might have to deal with is the way that it impacts the daily activities to which they are accustomed. They might not be able to feed or dress themselves. Going to work may be impossible. They might have to rely on others to help with the simplest of tasks.
For victims of spinal cord injuries who were in an accident caused by another person, seeking compensation may help address the significant financial impacts. Doing this quickly after the accident is imperative since there are strict time limits in Missouri for filing this claim.