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The long-term suffering of a spinal cord injury

| Feb 15, 2018 | blog

You probably don’t need anyone to tell you that your life will never be the same. The car accident that left you with a spinal cord injury is likely engrained in your memory, at least in flashes. The aftermath, however, will stay with you forever.

A spinal cord injury that results in paralysis often brings many collateral medical issues. Being bound to a bed or wheelchair may be only the beginning of the problems you will be dealing with. Of course, another consequence of prolonged medical challenges is the mounting cost of treatment.

Complications from immobility

The body is meant to move, and since you are unable to move normally, you are more susceptible to complications. Your risk for blood clots, for example, is much higher because of the restricted blood flow to your extremities. Life-threatening clots in the lungs and especially in the legs are common, and up to 90 percent of victims of spinal cord injuries experience deep vein thrombosis.

Your inability to change positions may result in pressure ulcers. These can easily become infected and create a dangerous situation. You may need the assistance of someone who can help you shift your body to reduce the pressure on the same spot for too long.

The most common dangers

Since your accident, you may more fully realize that every day is a gift. However, on some days, your suffering may make it difficult to appreciate that gift. Paralysis from spinal cord injuries can severely reduce your life expectancy. In addition to blood clots, the most common threats to your life and health include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bladder and bowel disorders
  • Urinary infections
  • Sepsis
  • Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death among people with spinal cord injuries. Of course, your risk for these conditions depends on the severity of the accident, your age and your overall health at the time of the injury.

Facing physical and financial pain

You certainly suffer with pain. Chronic pain is common following spinal cord injuries, although some report that it subsides after the first year. What is not likely to subside is your need for ongoing medical care, including frequent medical check-ups, surgeries, rehabilitation, skilled nursing and potentially psychiatric counseling. All of this, combined with your inability to work, can lead to devastating financial pressure.

Depending on your age at the time of the accident, you may expect to accumulate almost $1 million worth of medical debt in the first year and millions more in the years to come. You may be one of the 46 percent of spinal cord victims whose injuries resulted from a motor vehicle accident. If this is the case, you may benefit from a consultation with a Texas attorney to discuss the options for seeking remuneration for your injuries.