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Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Serving Washington, DC

The spinal cord is a part of your central nervous system. It relays all of the messages between your brain and the rest of your body. Although it is housed in the spine, it is not made of bone. Spinal cord injuries (SCI) are life-altering, often causing permanent paralysis or death. Full recovery is rare and diligent, ongoing rehabilitation efforts are often necessary to maintain remaining and recoverable function. Most spinal cord injuries occur in auto accidents, sporting accidents or on the job. They can also be caused or made worse by medical malpractice.

Spinal Cord Injury Types and Severity

There are four primary types of spinal cord injuries. They are:

  • Contusion
  • Compression
  • Lacerations
  • Central cord syndrome

A partial or incomplete SCI means that some messages are relayed to and from the brain, below the point of injury. With complete SCI no messages pass the point of injury. People with partial SCI have a much greater chance of recovery.

Causes

Accidents are the most common cause of SCI, but medical conditions and medical procedures can also cause injury to the spinal cord. Causes of SCI include:

  • Trauma
  • Infections
  • Herniated disk
  • Tumors
  • Abscesses
  • Blood clots
  • Surgical error
  • Spinal tap

Symptoms

Immediately after trauma, seek emergency medical attention for a possible SCI if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Fading in and out of consciousness
  • Impaired breathing
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Extreme back pain
  • Pressure in the head, neck, or back
  • Weakness or paralysis in any part of the body
  • Loss of coordination in any part of the body
  • Numbness or tingling in hands, feet, fingers or toes
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty walking
  • An oddly positioned or twisted neck or back

Symptoms which may develop over a longer period of time include:

  • Loss of movement
  • Difficulty breathing or coughing
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Loss of sensation, including hot and cold
  • Pain or an intense stinging sensation
  • Exaggerated reflex activities
  • Spasms
  • Changes in sexual function

Detection and Early Treatment

A spinal cord injury is a medical emergency. Immediate stabilization and treatment is necessary to minimize damage and prevent permanent disability or death. SCI does not show up on X-rays, because the spinal cord is a soft tissue not a bone. A CT scan, MRI, or myelogram is necessary to detect SCI. Surgery and/or corticosteroid drugs are often used in emergency treatment.

Results of Spinal Cord Injuries

SCI has severe emotional and social ramifications for most patients. Often, these effects are the worst immediately after injury, and can improve over time with the proper care and support. The physical effects of SCI depend on the location and severity of injury. SCI cuts off or impairs communication with your brain from the point of injury down, so, higher injuries involve more of the body. Spinal cord injuries can cause:

  • Paralysis
  • Quadriplegia
  • Paraplegia
  • Loss of autonomic functions such as breathing, bowel control, and bladder control
  • Loss of sensation and reflex
  • Hypersensitivity to stimuli
  • Pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Weakness poor coordination
  • Death

Secondary conditions and complications are common and can be life threatening that include:

  • Bladder infections
  • Lung infections
  • Bed sores
  • Sever injuries
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Weight gain
  • Autonomic dysreflexia

Spinal cord injuries are complicated, long-lasting and life altering. You need an experienced spinal cord injury attorney such as those at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. who know how to deal with insurance companies and medical practitioners. Our spinal cord injury lawyers will work to recover maximum compensation for damages, which may be necessary to support you and your rehabilitation for a long time, possibly the rest of your life.

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