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Aggravating Spinal Cord Injuries: Who is to Blame?


The seriousness of a spinal cord injury cannot be overstated. The spinal cord is the central nervous system’s highway for communicating messages between the brain and the rest of the body. It is surrounded by a series of bones called vertebrae. When the spinal cord itself is injured, it is unable to transmit messages to and from the body below the point of injury. As a result, spinal cord injuries often result in paralysis. At its extreme, a patient may be unable to move or feel any extremities, a condition known as quadriplegia.

The spinal cord can suffer various types of injuries. It can be bruised, crushed, stretched or even cut. The nervous system is the only part of the body that cannot repair itself. Therefore, many types of spinal cord injuries are irreversible.

Auto accidents and other types of trauma cause many spinal cord injuries. The lives of a Nevada woman, and her two children were shattered forever in 2011 when a drunk driver struck their vehicle. Michelle Hernandez received multiple, significant injuries, and her 2-1/2 year old son, Noah, suffered a severe spinal cord injury. His future remains uncertain.

Often good medical care can prevent further damage to the spinal cord. Sometimes, however, medical professionals themselves can fail to deliver the standard of care, and their error can worsen or even cause spinal cord injuries. Paramedics can easily exacerbate an auto accident victim’s spinal injury through improper handling, and in some cases, worsening damage to the spine. A mild spinal cord injury can go undiagnosed, leading to greater damage later. Or a patient in surgery may develop hypotension, abnormally low blood pressure that without intervention may lead to a spinal cord injury. These are just a few of the many errors that could cause or aggravate a spinal cord injury.

If you or a loved one has a spinal cord injury, we are here to help.

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