You could suffer any number of injuries in an accident. One of the more serious is a spinal cord injury. While some people do recover from these injuries, the outlook is not always good.
In fact, there are cases where the damage is believed to be irreversible even from the first examination. Doctors rely on sensation and motor function tests to determine the severity and location of the injury. However, other injuries, such as broken bones or head injuries, often hamper these exams. Some patients may come in unconscious and unable to answer questions or otherwise respond to stimuli.
Times may be changing
A patient on the west coast recently became the first to undergo a new treatment protocol. Doctors chose not to use the usual assessment tools. Instead, doctors evaluated the blood pressure in the spine. It turns out that the spinal cord regulates blood pressure for the body, so if it isn't working properly and receiving adequate blood flow, blood pressure could reflect that. Re-establishing blood flow and optimizing a patient's resting blood pressure could prove crucial to recovery.
Until recently, the medical community considered it "early surgery" if patients underwent surgery within the first day or two after the injury. Now, the new protocol shortens that to only 12 hours after the initial injury. The west coast patient's injuries probably would not have been reversible without this protocol, but instead, he is recovering and actually took steps around a month and a half later. After four months, he could walk at least a mile without getting tired, lift weights and climb stairs.
Since this patient suffered his injury, at least 10 more people seem to be benefiting from this aggressive spinal cord blood pressure assessment and treatment, along with quick surgery. The hospital is not conducting a study. Instead, it adopted this protocol as its standard of care for spinal cord injury patients. The hope is that other hospitals across the country will do the same.
Paying for treatment
Regardless of the assessment and treatment method used, paying for the needed health care can be a challenge. If your spinal cord injury resulted from the negligence of another person, you may be able to pursue compensation through the filing of a personal injury claim. A successful claim could result in your receiving an award of monetary damages to cover your current and future medical and other needs.