Spinal Cord Injury

doctor viewing x-rays

Cost of Life after a Spinal Cord Injury

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The spinal cord supports body movement and sensation, and damage to it, whether through fractures, dislocation, compression, or anything of the like, causes the spinal cord to lose the ability to send or receive messages from the brain to the part of the body that controls motor and automatic function. It does not have to be severed to lose function. Spinal cord injuries commonly occur as a result of automobile accidents, acts of violence, sports injuries, and falls. However, it also occurs from diseases one may have at birth or acquire later in life, from tumors, or from electric shock. How a spinal cord injury impacts the body depends on where the damage is located as well as its severity.

Spinal cord injuries may often come with secondary complications and conditions. Some of these include issues with bowel and bladder management, sepsis, respiratory health, deep vein thrombosis, and even skin problems.

Given how greatly a spinal injury can impact the life of an individual, high financial costs come with it as well. The costs associated with spinal cord injuries depend on the severity of one’s condition. For high tetraplegia, for example, costs during the first year can be upwards of $1 million and about $200,000 for subsequent years, according to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, not including loss of wages or other fringe benefits. Over a lifetime of 50 years, that will eventually add up to over $2 million. Even for less severe, minor spinal cord injuries, the cost per year is about $42,000 and over $1 million over a lifetime of 50 years.

Vanguard Attorneys has 50 years of combined experience in protecting the rights of our clients. We are experts in personal injury and understand how to approach spinal injury cases. Not only are the effects of this injury life altering and overwhelming, but costly. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of someone’s negligence, you are entitled to seek compensation. Call for a free consultation at 813-737-7361.

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Coping with a Spinal Cord Injury and Adjusting to Life at Home

By | Catastrophic Injury, Spinal Cord Injury | No Comments

A spinal cord injury is a serious, life-altering event that can have a lasting impact on the injured person, their family and others close to them. Learning to adjust to life with a spinal cord injury consists of maintaining a positive outlook and staying committed to different types of therapy and treatment options. Moral support and love from friends, family, as well support groups are among the most important resources to helping a spinal cord injury patient adjust to life once they return home from the hospital or rehabilitation program.

Tips for Adjustment and Better Living with a Spinal Cord Injury

  • Find a Long-term physical rehabilitation program: Studies have shown that spinal cord injury patients who actively participate in rehabilitation programs and individual treatment plans experience better outcomes, independence, and quality of life when compared to patients who do not put effort into rehabilitation or those who leave treatment early. Patients should consider established facilities with specific experience working with paralysis patients.
  • Establish and maintain an exercise regimen: Studies have proven that patients with paralysis who exercise regularly enjoy less health complications and a better quality of life compared to those who do not exercise or stay active. Spinal cord injury patients who remain sedentary and gain too much weight face an increased risk of secondary complications including diabetes, hypertension, and coronary artery disease. Structured exercise activities within the patient’s capabilities must be added to a regular schedule to reduce the likelihood of secondary complications and to enhance their physical capacity to handle stress and illness. Exercise can consist of modified yoga, outdoor recreation, or water therapy.
  • Explore all options for adaptive equipment: A patient adjusting to life with paralysis often faces considerable mobility limitations in and out of the home. Before a spinal cord injury patient returns home, family members should talk with physicians and rehabilitation specialists about adaptive equipment options and other ways to prepare the home for wheelchair access. A manual or powered wheelchair may be a necessary part of life. A home may need to be fitted with wheelchair ramps, special hand grips, and bathroom modifications designed specifically for spinal cord injury patient mobility. A person living with paralysis might still be able to operate an automobile, but may require adaptive controls. It is important that a patient continue on with scheduled physical therapy sessions until they reach a comfortable range of capability with any adaptive equipment.
  • Continually search for new resources and support online: Attending support groups and counseling sessions can be an important source of support for people living with a brain injury and should continue indefinitely. Spinal cord injury patients and their families can look online to learn more about their injury, learn about funding and research initiatives, and find details about local support groups. Listed below are a few blogs, support groups, and educational resources geared toward helping those who are adjusting to life with a spinal cord injury:


Facing Disability

The Kessler Institute

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Common Types of Motorcycle and Bicycle Accident Injuries

By | Bicycle Accident, Brain Injuries, Motorcycle Accident, Spinal Cord Injury | No Comments

Motorcycle and bicycle accidents can involve abrupt collisions and potentially severe injuries to the rider. Even though motorcycles are faster and more powerful, a bicycle accident can be equally as devastating. A cyclist may crash or be struck by a motor vehicle while riding under 5 mph and can still sustain catastrophic, life-threatening injury. Wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the rider’s probability of suffering a traumatic brain injury by at least 40% if he/she is involved in a crash. Additionally, nearly 75% of all head injuries caused by bicycle accidents can be prevented by the use of helmets.

Common Motorcycle and Bicycle Accident Injuries

For those riders and cyclists fortunate enough to survive a collision with an automobile, injuries may still be very painful or even permanent. Traffic accident survivors may still require treatment or hospitalization for flesh injuries, fractures, head injuries, or spinal cord injuries. Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries typically require in-patient rehabilitation and can leave riders and cyclists with permanent disabilities.

  • Bone Fractures: Colliding with a car or truck at any speed, or simply losing control and being ejected can fracture bones – particularly in vulnerable joints like the wrists and elbows. Unprotected knee caps can be broken or shattered, and riders who crash often suffer from bruised or fractured ribs. Compound-fractures which break the skin can damage muscles and ligaments and may impair a rider’s range of movement once they heal.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Road rash is a colloquial term used to describe a severe tissue or muscle injury caused by abrasion with the road. If a rider is ejected and slides across a pavement, the coarse surface is likely to tear away any exposed flesh. Most traditional clothing is quickly torn or pulled away by the road. Riders can don jackets equipped with protective polymer or Kevlar armor designed to withstand road friction and protect a rider’s flesh in case of a crash.
  • Spinal Cord Injury: In severe cases, the spinal cord may be pinched, crushed, or severed. The injury may result in total paralysis below the injury site. Paralysis of the lower body and lower extremities is called paraplegia, while paralysis in all limbs, with an injury site above the chest or shoulders is called quadriplegia. The effects of a complete spinal cord injury are permanent.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
    • Concussions: The majority of traumatic brain injuries are concussions. Helmets protect against damage to the skull, but a concussion may still be caused by an accident. A concussion occurs when the brain collides with the inner surface of the skull. Most concussions produce temporary effects which eventually subside with proper rest. Effects often include persistent headaches, problems with concentration, memory impairment, and balance/coordination issues.
    • Contusions: Contusions are bruises on the brain that form like bruises in the skin or muscles. Depending upon the region of the brain affected, bruising can produce effects similar to a concussion.
    • Hematomas: These are blood clots that occur between the skull and brain or inside the brain itself. Clots in the brain may block the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain, resulting in a stroke.



    Web MD

    Northeastern University

    Mayo Clinic Website

    Department of Veterans Affairs – TBI Symptoms & Screening

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Motorcyclist Sustains Spinal Cord Injury in Confrontation with Motorist

By | Motorcycle Accident, Spinal Cord Injury | No Comments

In a previous post, we showcased a news story about a motorcycle club based in New York City who allegedly harassed and attacked a family in a Range Rover SUV. On Sunday, September 29th, motorcycle riders chased a family through the streets of upper Manhattan and brutally beat the driver, Alexian Lien, 33, of Manhattan, in front of his wife and 2 year old daughter. As many as 30 bikers, most of them riding sport bikes, pursued a family in their Range Rover SUV.

In the incident, one of the bikers, Edwin Mieses, was run over by Lien and sustained a spinal cord injury. The biker was run over after the group of riders forced Lien to stop by pulling in front of him. Lien then felt threatened and panicked, accelerating suddenly to escape the would-be attackers and running over Mieses in the process.

In a more recent news story, Mieses, who was permanently paralyzed from the waist down in the incident, has spoken out in a Today Show interview, saying he does not blame the driver of the SUV for his condition.

Mieses said he was riding motorcycles with three friends that day, but didn’t know anyone else in the large group. Mieses told Guthrie, “I actually came from Massachusetts for a ride, which I became aware of on the Internet.”

Mieses explained further:

“I was fully conscious for the whole entire thing. I got off my bike to check on (another rider). As soon as I saw that it wasn’t that serious, I was just telling guys to keep going because I didn’t really want to ruin the ride and besides that, we were in the middle of the highway. As soon as I turned around and started walking back towards my bike, that’s when I got ran over. As soon as he hit me, I shut my eyes. I didn’t want to open my eyes because I knew that he had hurt me.”

After Mieses was run over, a high-speed chase ensued as the other bikers caught up to the Range Rover, pulled Lien from the car and assaulted him. The incident was captured in a six-minute video from a motorcyclist’s helmet camera and posted online. During the confrontation, Lien’s terrified wife, Rosalyn Ng, called 911 four times in nine minutes. The attack on Lien was apparently broken up by bystanders moments before police arrived on the scene.


The Today Show

NY Post

NBC News

Meningitis Outbreak: Could It Have Been Prevented?

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A fungal meningitis outbreak has killed 32 people and sickened 461 in 19 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest report. In Florida alone, there have been 23 cases, including three deaths. A compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts, which distributed pain steroids that later tested positive for contamination, is at the center of an investigation into the deadly outbreak.

“Health officials say as many as 14,000 people received the steroid injections, mostly for back pain,” the Associated Press reports. The fungal infection causes inflammation of the meninges – protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Anti-fungal medication is used for treatment. But even patients who receive treatment are still at risk of death, brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities, speech complications, seizures, and paralysis, according to theMeningitis Foundation of America.

On Nov. 14, a hearing of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee convened to examine the outbreak from the New England Compounding Center’s facility in Framingham, Massachusetts. According to the NECC website, the company has recalled all products shipped in 2012.

The AP article published Nov. 14 showed how the congressional committee charged with investigating the outbreak hammered regulators. “After a tragedy like this, the first question we all ask is: could this have been prevented?” asked Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Florida’s 6th District, Republican chairman of the oversight and investigations panel. “After an examination of documents produced by the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the answer here appears to be yes.”

A Reuters Newswire article said that in response to these types of questions, Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “insisted that the FDA lacks clear authority to regulate compounding pharmacies due to conflicting court rulings and other regulatory ambiguities.”

Barry Cadden, co-owner of the NECC, is already exercising his Fifth Amendment rights. In an AP article, he said: “Under advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer under basis of my constitutional rights and privileges, including the Fifth Amendment,” he said.