The spinal cord is fragile and cannot repair itself if damaged.
A vehicle crash is a frequent cause of spinal cord injury (SCI). Advances in treatment and research give patients hope for eventual recovery.
The spinal cord carries impulses from the brain to other parts of the body. For such an important function, many people express surprise that the spinal cord is so fragile. However, damage could cause pain, incontinence or paralysis depending on the location of an injury. Loss of function can occur without the severing of the spinal cord. It is also possible for a person to sustain a fracture in the neck or back without becoming paralyzed.
Improvements in care
Today, improvements in emergency care for patients with SCI include antibiotics for the treatment of infections and aggressive rehabilitation. The goal is to minimize nervous system damage and restore bodily function to any degree possible. In addition, encouraging research at Duke University focuses on helping people with paralyzed limbs walk again.
An expensive injury
About 11,000 people sustain spinal cord injuries every year in the U.S. and vehicle crashes are responsible for many such injuries. In terms of medical care, the first year is the most expensive with costs ranging from $200,000 to more than $700,000. After that, annual costs could start at $14,000 and run to over $100,000, depending on the severity of the injury. The victim of a vehicle crash who suffers SCI should only have to concentrate on recovery while an advocate works on his or her behalf to obtain maximum compensation to cover current and future medical expenses and more.