A new study reveals that conducting surgeries earlier when treating spinal cord injuries could lead to better results and less damage to injury victims.
Currently, surgeries for spinal cord injuries are usually performed five days or more after the injury occurred. The surgery is intended to hopefully fix the spine and alleviate pressure. Most injury patients are able to get at least some function back in their limbs, hands, toes, and fingers after a surgery.
The new research, however, shows that more recovery is possible if the surgeries were conducted within 24 hours of the spinal cord injuries occurring. The earlier surgeries could prevent any long-term damages from the injury from becoming more serious and allow some people—who would be paralyzed otherwise—to walk again.
Over 300,000 Americans with spinal cord injuries are in wheelchairs.
Dr. Michael Fehlings, a neurosurgeon, says that the initial impact that causes the spinal cord injury isn’t responsible for all the damages that result. Secondary injuries can result from spinal compression and inhalation, and nerve cells that could have been saved end up dying.
A spinal cord injury is frequently caused by a traumatic blow to the spine. The nerves in the spine become fractured or dislocated. A spinal cord injury is often serious if not permanent. There are approximately 10,000 spinal cord injuries that happen every year.
The medical costs to treat a spinal cord injury can be astronomical. If you or someone you love has sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident, construction accident, motorcycle accident, fall accident, or any other kind of injury accident that was caused because another party was negligent, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer immediately.
The University of Alabama National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center offers a number of statistics regarding the costs of spinal cord injuries in 2002:
• Length of initial hospitalization following injury in acute care units: 15 days
• Average stay in rehabilitation unit: 44 days
• Initial hospitalization costs following injury: $140,000
• Average first year expenses for a SCI injury (all groups): $198,000
• First year expenses for paraplegics: $152,000
• First year expenses for quadriplegics: $417,000
• Average lifetime costs for paraplegics, age of injury 25: $428,000
• Average lifetime costs for quadriplegics, age of injury 25: $1.35 million
• Percentage of SCI individuals who are covered by private health insurance at time of injury: 52%
• Percentage of SCI individuals that are unemployed eight years after injury: 63%. (Note: unemployment rate when this article was written was 4.7%)
You shouldn’t have to pay for your medical expenses out of your own pocket. A spinal cord injury attorney can help you obtain financial recovery from the liable party.
Spine surgery: Timing matters!, 7online.com, August 30, 2007
Spinal Cord Injury Facts & Statistics
Related Web Resources:
Spinal Cord Injuries, Medline Plus
Spinal Cord Injury, Mayo Clinic
If you are a spinal cord injury victim who was injured in Maryland or the D.C. area because another party was negligent, contact Lebowitz and Mzhen right away.
We are experienced personal injury attorneys that have successfully handled many spinal cord injury cases. For your free consultation, contact Lebowitz and Mzhen today.