Posted on Monday, March 28th, 2016 at 6:33 pm
Each year an additional 12,500 new spinal cord injury (SCI) cases are reported in the United States. Right now, approximately 276,000 people are living with some form of spinal cord injury. Motor vehicle accidents and falls continue to be the most common causes of spinal cord injuries, however, violence, sports injuries, and medical or surgical mistakes account for 28% of the cases. Regardless of the cause of a SCI, the result is typically the same — a long, painful, and expensive recovery with the risk of permanent paralysis or other disability.
Unfortunately, paralysis and permanent disability is not the only conditions a spinal cord injury victim must be worried about. Secondary conditions related to spinal cord injuries can be as serious if not more serious than the SCI itself.
Common Secondary Conditions Related to Spinal Cord Injuries
A secondary condition is a medical, emotional, or mental condition that develops because of a primary disabling condition. Some of the more common secondary conditions a SCI include:
- Sepsis – Sepsis is caused by the body’s response to an infection. Sepsis can be life-threatening and must be treated immediately. Sepsis can result in organ failure, tissue damage, and death.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis – DVT occurs when blood clots develop in the lower legs and move to the lungs. A fatal embolism can occur as a result.
- Respiratory Problems – Many spinal cord injury victims must be placed on a ventilator. Pneumonia and other respiratory problems are common and can be deadly.
- Autonomic Dysreflexia – Autonomic dysreflexia (AD) results in excessively high blood pressure and is common in spinal cord injury cases that involve the thoracic nerves of the spine.
- Bowel and Bladder Dysfunction – Patients with spinal cord injuries often suffer from bowel and bladder problems. This can lead to other problems including infections and it also reduces the patient’s quality of life.
- Pain – Some patients experience chronic pain as a result of a spinal cord injury.
- Depression – Depression is often a secondary condition for many illnesses that result in a permanent disability.
This is not an exhaustive list of the secondary conditions that may develop as a result of a spinal cord injury. For patients who suffer with secondary conditions, additional hospitalizations, treatments, surgeries, and physical therapy may be required to treat the conditions. Combined with the extensive medical costs associated with treating spinal cord injuries including surgeries, rehabilitative care, and personal care, the cost of a spinal cord injury can soar into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When the SCI was the result of an accident caused by another party, you have the legal right to receive compensation for your damages including your past, current, and future medical expenses. For a spinal cord injury victim, it is crucial to consider all future health problems and secondary conditions when settling a spinal cord claim.
Contact a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney for More Information
Our spinal cord injury attorneys want to help you if you or a family member has suffered a spinal cord injury because of another person’s careless, reckless, or negligence. Contact the Tiemann Law Firm by calling (916) 999-9000 or chat with a representative on our website to schedule a free legal consultation.