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Effects, Recovery, and Costs Associated with Spinal Cord Injuries

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    Effects of Spinal Cord Injury

    Spinal cord injuries can have both physical and emotional effects. The physical effects depend on the type of injury and the level of the injury on the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries can either be complete or incomplete. Those who suffer complete spinal cord injury lose all sensation and muscle function in the body below the level of the injury. On the other hand, those who have some remaining function below the level of the injury have an incomplete spinal cord injury.

    The level of the injury helps predict what parts of the body might be affected by paralysis. For example, spinal cord injuries below the first thoracic spinal nerve often result in paraplegia, a condition that is characterized by paralysis of the lower body. Neck injuries usually result in quadriplegia, where the individual is unable to move both her upper and lower body. In addition to loss of sensation or motor functioning, individuals with spinal cord injuries can also experience dysfunction of bowel and bladder, loss of ability to breathe, low blood pressure and chronic pain.

    Recovery from Spinal Cord Injury

    Once the injured individual is treated and stabilizes, the patient requires ongoing medical treatment at a rehabilitation center. It is important to do research before choosing a rehabilitation center as not all centers have spinal cord injury programs.

    Rehabilitation focuses on the patient learning how to live life with the injury. It typically includes physical therapy and counseling for emotional support and is designed for the patient and her particular needs. Rehabilitation centers provide patients with a team of professionals who can help the patient cope with her injury. They include occupational therapists who address social, emotional and functional aspects of life after the injury, physical therapists who help restore muscle strength and improve mobility and flexibility, speech pathologists, rehabilitation nurses who prevent complications and assist the patients, among others.

    Costs Associated with Spinal Cord Injury

    The average annual health care and living expenses in addition to the lifetime costs vary depending on the type of spinal cord injury. The following was calculated by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) using 2009 dollars:

    Severity of Injury

    Average Yearly Expenses (in 2009 dollars) Estimated Lifetime Costs by Age at Injury
    First Year Subsequent Years 25 years old 50 years old
    High Quadriplegia $829,843 $148,645 $3,273,270 $1,926,992
    Low Quadriplegia $535,877 $60,887 $1,850,805 $1,172,070
    Paraplegia $303,220 $30,855 $1,093,669 $745,951
    Incomplete Motor Functional $244,562 $17,139 $729,560 $528,726

    Contact York Law Firm

    York Law Firm understands that spinal cord treatment can be extremely costly, which is why it’s necessary that you are compensated for your injury if it was negligently or recklessly inflicted.  We have been successful in obtaining millions for our spinal cord injury clients and have the experience and the skill to represent you.  Contact one of our experienced attorneys for a case evaluation.