Damage to the spinal cord or surrounding nerve endings can permanently affect strength and sensation throughout your entire body. Severe injuries can cause crippling pain and permanently affect your mobility.
Recovering from a spinal cord injury (SCI) can require extended treatment in an intensive care unit, followed by physical rehabilitation. Physical and occupational therapists work to decide on goals for the patient’s recovery and develop a plan of discharge.
Spinal cord injuries can weaken the respiratory muscles, leaving the patient unable to effectively clear his lungs. Doctors have to be vigilant for signs of pneumonia, pulmonary edema and respiratory failure, which can be fatal to SCI victims.
During rehabilitation, spinal cord patients stay as active as possible to prevent indirect complications like bedsores and diminished respiratory function. Increased activity also helps activate functioning muscle groups and retain a fuller range of motion.
The outcome of any spinal injury is determined by the level of care the patient receives. Facilities that specialize in SCI often have a variety of treatment options and the experience to know which ones are most effective.
A firefighter and father of three injured his spine in an ATV accident back in May. The man suffered fractures in six vertebrae, leaving him an “incomplete quadriplegic”. He still has movement in his left arm but not his hand, and he still feels pain throughout his entire body.
Now, his daughter is working hard to get him moved to Craig Hospital in Denver, which specializes in spinal cord injury. She is making progress, but timing is crucial.
“They told us that whatever function he has at six months will be what he will have for the rest of his life,” a family member said. “We really need to get him there now.”
Craig Hospital is an award-winning facility for SCI and traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment. According to their website, approximately 90 percent of Craig’s patients return home, and 40 percent of their patients are back to work or school within one year of their injury.
After insurance, the family needs $83,000 to make the transfer. After numerous fundraisers and t-shirt sales, the family has raised $26,000. Even with community involvement and support, they have a long way to go.
Do Specialty Hospitals Make a Difference?
On average, patients treated at specialized facilities fare better than those treated at general hospitals. Craig Hospital boasts that its “graduates” make greater functional gains during treatment, are discharged at higher rates and require less attendant care than patients from other rehabilitation programs.
Unfortunately, those benefits are only available to those who can pay the price. Without considerable finances, other SCI victims are relegated to more general facilities. These patients may still recover, but maybe not as fully as they would have in the right program.
After a spinal cord injury, the level of care you receive could make an important difference in your recovery. If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, a personal injury settlement could help you get access to better care and regain more of your original function.
Let us help you heal. Call Metier Law Firm today to discuss your spinal cord injury with one of our licensed attorneys.
Metier Law Firm, LLC – Injury Attorneys Serving Clients Nationwide
[Did You Know: After 12 months, any damage remaining from a spinal cord injury is most likely permanent.]