A successful personal injury lawyer will understand the medical facts of an injury claim, the emotional and physical challenges the client faces on a daily basis, and the legal aspects of liability. At Powers & Santola, LLP., our attorneys are well versed in each of these areas.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Occur?
Within eight hours of a spinal cord injury, patients are typically given high doses of the steroid methylprednisolone to prevent degeneration of the cells and tissues in the spine. This is because studies have shown that much of the damage and paralysis that occurs following a spinal cord injury is the result of degeneration, rather than the initial accident. Spinal surgery is often necessary to stabilize the spine and to reduce swelling and inflammation, which can result in further damage to the nervous system.
When Does the Rehabilitation Process Begin?
As soon as the patient is medically stable, rehabilitation will begin. The main goal of rehabilitation is to provide the injured person with the skills he or she will need to function as independently as possible. Rehab can be provided as an inpatient or outpatient service at the hospital, at a rehab facility, or at home by professionals, family members, or the patient him/herself, after proper training.
Education is an important part of the rehab process. Understanding how and why pressure sores (bed sores) occur, practicing proper bladder and bowel management, and learning about diet and exercise is all part of the rehabilitation process.
A rehabilitation plan is highly individualized. An evaluation is conducted during the initial hospital stay to determine the most appropriate place for the patient to continue the recovery process. In severe injury cases, the patient may spend several months in a specialized rehab facility. Even after the formal rehab program is completed, the injured person is encouraged to participate in an ongoing exercise program to ensure that the progress made during rehab is maintained.
The Emotional Component of Life After a Spinal Cord Injury
Over time, as progress slows and the outpouring of emotional support diminishes, the injured person begins to have feelings of hopelessness, denial, anger, confusion, fear and defeat. These feelings are normal and are experienced by an estimated 10,000 Americans who suffer, and survive, acute spinal cord injuries and paralysis each year.
While difficult emotions are a normal part of the recovery process, they can interfere with achieving maximum recovery. It is important for the patient to know s/he is not alone. Spinal cord injury groups and associations exist to educate and support those in recovery.
Do People with Spinal Cord Injuries have Special Civil Rights?
“Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to live independently; enjoy self-determination; make choices; contribute to society; pursue meaningful careers; and enjoy full inclusion and integration in the economic, political, social, cultural and educational mainstream of American society.”
This quotation from The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1992, expresses the clear intent of Congress that persons with disabilities should not be excluded from participating in all aspects of public life. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 states that disabled persons have a right to reasonable accommodations in employment and education, and access to public facilities and public and private transportation systems, telecommunications and government services.
If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, a personal injury attorney at Powers & Santola, LLP., can help. Contact our upstate New York law office or call us to schedule a free consultation in our Albany office (518-465-5995) or Syracuse office (315-308-1020).