The spinal cord is one of the most important organs in the body. The sensations you feel, the steps you take, and the beating of your heart all depend on your spinal cord.
When the spinal cord is damaged, the many important processes that it controls are also damaged. Spinal cord injuries can cause:
- Full or partial paralysis
- Lack of sensation in part or all of the body
- Problems with the heart, lungs, and digestive system
Spinal cord injuries occur when an object pierces the spinal cord or breaks part of the spine and damages the spinal cord inside it.
Although the initial injury starts the damage, swelling of the spinal cord and changes in blood flow cause ongoing damage even after the accident. It is not until several weeks after the accident that the full extent of the damage can be assessed.
Treatment for spinal cord injuries has advanced greatly in the past century, but it is still mostly limited to keeping the injury from getting worse after it has occurred. In the first eight hours after the injury, doctors immobilize the patient, realign the spine, and administer methylprednisolone to the patient.
These measures help keep the injury from getting worse. Doctors may also take measures to help combat the other effects of the injury, such as trouble breathing.
Once the patient is stabilized, they begin a program of physical therapy to help regain control of the functions that have been damaged by the injury. Some patients recover almost to the point of function they had before the injury, and others are paralyzed for life.
Because spinal cord injuries are traumatic and often permanent, it is very important to protect people from ever getting them in the first place. As a result, there are laws governing situations with a high risk of spinal cord injuries.
However, over 10,000 spinal cord injuries occur every year in the US, and many of these injuries could have been prevented.
38.5% of spinal cord injuries happen due to auto accidents. Car accidents also cause many injuries to the middle part of the spine, which often results in paraplegia or paralysis of the lower body.
Some cars have been proven to be manufactured unsafely. This means that the construction of the car results in more crashes or more damage to passengers during the crash. If you received a spinal cord injury due to vehicle defects, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
In other cases, an accident between two vehicles occurs because one of the drivers was breaking basic safety laws, like yielding to oncoming traffic and stopping at red traffic lights and stop signs. Unfortunately, the driver that broke the law is not always the person who gets injured by an accident.
If you have a spinal cord injury caused by another driver’s failure to obey the law, you should not have to bear the burden of your injury alone. There are laws and processes available to help you meet your medical expenses, and we can help you use them to get compensation for your injury.
Injuries at Work
Workplace injuries are another preventable source of spinal cord injuries. Because spinal cord injuries are traumatic and often cause permanent damage to the patient, OSHA has standards in place to protect workers from workplace conditions that could cause a fall or blow to the back.
This includes removing known physical hazards and taking safety precautions during potentially dangerous operations, like working with heavy machinery. If you hurt your back at work because of unsafe conditions like tripping hazards, lack of safety equipment, or someone else’s reckless operation of heavy machinery, your employer may be at fault.
The US Government charges employers with creating safe places to work. If your employer failed to keep you and your coworkers safe, then your employer needs to take responsibility for their negligence. Spinal cord injuries can be expensive to treat, and you should not have to bear that burden alone.
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