Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can be defined as damage to the spinal cord that cause any alteration in function, sensation, autonomic function in other parts of the body served by the spinal cord. Such damage can occur in any part of the spinal cord and cause a range of symptoms, from pain and numbness to complete paralysis, incontinence, immobility etc.
Several additional complications can also occur as a result of SCI, such as muscle atrophy, bed-sores, infections, respiratory problems etc.SCI is generally termed a “catastrophic injury” and treatment is still an evolving dynamic. Long-term or permanent disability can result from SCI and there is a requirement for therapies, rehabilitation, modifications to home and work-place, huge medical expenditure etc. Another aspect is that injured victims are at risk for emotional trauma as well. Depression, anxiety, panic-attacks, sleep-disturbances, suicidal thoughts, mood-swings etc are some of the issues that can arise. In fact, 90% of what we know about SCI has been discovered only since the last couple of decades.
SCI can occur immediately following the accident or it may manifest some time after the actual event if it was undiagnosed earlier.
Statistics released by SCI Ontario show that there are at least 600 new spinal injuries every year and more than 30,000 Ontarians living with spinal injuries. It takes at least 2-3 years for an SCI victim to attain sufficient independence and psycho-social support is an essential part of recovery.
42% of SCI are caused by motor-vehicle accidents. If you or a dear one has been involved in a car accident that has caused spinal cord injury, get in touch with a reputed personal injury lawyer/law-firm that has expertise, experience and knowledge in handling such cases. You may be entitled to compensation.
SCI has to be dealt with by experts in the field. It is a highly specialized area of medicine which takes a multi-disciplinary team to work with the patient. Hospitals with suitable infrastructure only can handle such patient care. Even the nursing care has to be provided only by those trained in this field. Surgery, rehabilitative therapies, traction, medication, physical therapies, psychological counseling, vocational training, use of assistive devices like wheelchairs, walkers, leg/neck brace etc may be required. Often, the patient has to be re-trained in self-grooming processes like toileting, bathing, personal hygiene etc. Adaptive devices may be required if communication ability is affected.
Occupational and recreational facilities become necessary as treatment progresses. Exercise and healthy diets and nutrition are also important to maintain overall good health and well-being. Becoming part of a support group can provide assistance and advice.
The ongoing medical and rehabilitation expenses, care-giving expenses, loss of income/wages, pain and suffering can spiral out of control for most families.
That is why adequate compensation has to be sought with the help of medico-legal experts in the field. Insurance companies may not always act in good faith. Settlement payments may be delayed, or they may be denied. An SCI lawyer can help patients/families access funding and ensure that their rights are protected.