In our last blog, we introduced spinal cord injuries in general. This week we discuss spinal cord injuries that result in quadriplegia and paraplegia. As defined bySpinal Cord Injury Ontario:
Quadriplegia is paralysis of all four limbs (from the neck down) resulting from injury to the neck. Fractures or compression of the vertebrae, which cause permanent damage to the spinal cord may lead to loss of sensation, movement, pain management, bladder and bowel control, as well as affecting sexual function. Paraplegia is the loss of sensation and movement in legs and in part or all of the trunk, usually resulting from an injury to the spinal cord below the neck.
Consider the following facts as collected by Spinal Cord Injury Ontario:
- There are 350 – 400 new spinal cord injuries every year in Ontario (approximately one every day) and current estimates indicate that there are approximately 12,000 Ontarians living with spinal cord injury.
- The cost of spinal cord injury to the Canadian health care system can be between $1.25 million and $25 million over an individual’s lifetime depending on severity of injury
- On average, it takes 2 to 3 years to attain sufficient independence following spinal cord injury.
- 43.2% of spinal cord injuries are sustained by unintentional falls. 27% of spinal cord injuries are the result of medical conditions or sports injuries. 42.8% of spinal cord injuries are due to motor vehicle accidents.
- Intensive psycho-social support is a critical component to rehabilitation from the onset of injury, through acute hospitalization, rehabilitation hospitalization and transition to community living.
- Unfortunately, paraplegics and quadriplegics suffer from complications including: loss of bladder and bowel control, blood clots, respiratory problems, autonomic dysreflexia (acute, uncontrolled hypertension), spastic muscles, pressure sores, and other injuries that may result due to a lack of feeling in that part of the body.
Thankfully, over the last twenty years, the medical community has learned much about quadriplegic and paraplegic injuries, and advancements in technology and medicine have created new treatments for these injuries. Immediate treatment of spinal cords injuries will often mean treating the spinal cord injury or other condition causing the problem. Surgery, if beneficial, will seek to relieve pressure on the spine from bone fragments or foreign objects. Surgery may also be used to stabilize the spine; as of yet, no form of surgery can repair the damaged nerves of the spinal cord.
Highly advanced rehabilitation efforts try to ensure that the patient is able to get an optimal workout. Whereas therapy used to focus on acclimating the patient to his or her new limitations, now therapists use electrodes to stimulate the patient’s muscles. This technology is called functional neuromuscular stimulation (FNS). FNS stimulates the intact peripheral nerves so that the paralyzed muscles will contract. A highly developing field, there are also new and experimental therapies that actively try to return some modicum of mobility to the patient.
Due to the gravity of the injury, it is important to have someone with experience on your side. We at the Toronto personal injury law firm of Bergel, Magence LLP have worked closely with victims of quadriplegic and paraplegic injuries for over forty years. We ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve under the law. We meet extensively with you, your family and your medical team to make sure that you are getting the proper medical treatment as well as all of the assistance you and your family require now and in the future.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a slip and fall, motor vehicle accident, or any other injury, call Toronto personal injury lawyers, Bergel, Magence LLP at 416-665-2000. We can arrange a free no obligation consultation to discuss your injury.