Spinal cord injuries are usually severe injuries that can take months or even years to recover from. In many cases, people experience loss of body function, which can be permanent. Some people, however, do make a full recovery.
Injuries to the spinal cord can also result in secondary conditions such as blood clots. The risk of death from a spinal cord injury is highest during the first year after the injury occurs. According to the World Health Organization, people in their first year after a spinal cord injury are two to five times more likely to die than those who do not have a spinal cord injury.
The Road to Recovery
Recovery from a spinal cord injury takes place in two stages.
Immediately following a spinal cord injury, the casualty will spend time in the hospital – often in critical care. They will likely be kept immobilized in a cervical collar or other medical devices. They may also require surgery.
A doctor will check the person’s vital signs to ensure that they have clear airways and that their heart is beating at a normal rhythm. The doctor will also test their movement and their ability to feel sensations in their arms and legs. Further tests may be done using medical imaging such as a CT scan or an MRI.
In this stage, the goal is to limit any further damage and reduce the risk of complications. The person will only be released from the hospital when they are stable.
The next stage will be some form of long-term care which will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Stage two of recovery from a spinal cord injury is focused on rehabilitation. This can include both physical and occupational therapy. In many cases, it will also involve some form of counselling since recovery from this type of injury can also be emotionally difficult, affecting the victim’s mental health.
In most cases, the person with the spinal cord injury will go to live in a subacute rehabilitation facility even if they are expected to recover to the point where they can return home. Especially during their first year following their injury, the person will require regular checkups and therapy as well as monitoring for complications.
The degree of care that a person will require once they return home after a spinal injury will vary from person to person. Some people will be able to live independently, while others will require a family caregiver or professional home care worker to provide care, assist with transitioning, and more.
If the person requires a mobility aid such as a wheelchair, scooter, or rollator, renovations to the home may be necessary before the person can safely return home.
Thanks to medical advancement, many people are able to make a full or partial recovery after a spinal cord injury. But these injuries can also be financially devasting due to the costs of treatment, missed work, mobility aids, and home renovations. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Schedule a free consultation with Hoffman Law today to speak to a personal injury lawyer.