Every spinal cord injury is a life-changing event, but the effects these injuries cause can vary widely from patient to patient. While no two injuries are the same, it is a general truth that spinal cord injuries result in increased medical needs and the inability to return to many previous activities. It is important for victims and families to understand how daily life may be affected by a spinal cord injury in order to be prepared for the road ahead.
What to Expect After a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are usually diagnosed as complete or incomplete. In a complete spinal cord injury, all sensory and motor function below the point of the injury has been lost. In many cases, these victims may lose the ability to speak without assistive devices or breathe independently, causing medical complications that may lead to a shortened lifespan.
Although patients with incomplete spinal cord injuries may still have some sensation or motor function below the point of injury, they may still suffer lifestyle changes such as:
- Home and schedule modifications. If you now require assistive devices (such as a wheelchair or braces), you may be forced to make physical and practical accommodations to your home. This many include installing ramps or railings, subscribing to a meal delivery service, or paying professionals to provide child care, housekeeping, or transportation.
- Ongoing treatment. Patients may have to attend frequent doctors’s appointments, take daily medications, or undergo additional surgeries to prevent further injury. Some patients may require in-home nursing if they need help bathing or performing self-care tasks.
- Limited opportunities. Many people who have suffered spinal injuries may be unable to earn a living, unable to produce children, and suffer physical limitations that force them to live a less active life than the one they enjoyed prior to injury.
- Risk of associated injuries. Patients with spinal cord injuries must be continually monitored for certain complications, such as urinary tract infections, kidney damage, pressure sores, and blood clots.
- Psychological effects. The emotional effects of chronic pain, loss, and the abrupt change in ability will often lead to depression for many patients. Private and group counseling can help ease the burden of these changes and help patients adapt to a new life.
If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligent actions, our injury attorneys have offices in Illinois and Missouri to advise you on your next steps and legal rights. Contact The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm via our online contact form to schedule an appointment.