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The Importance of Immediate Medical Care for Spinal Cord Injuries

Posted on August 31, 2023

Spinal cord injuries are a severe medical condition that can have life-altering consequences if not addressed promptly. Immediate medical care is crucial in these cases to minimize damage and improve the chances of recovery.

Preventing Further Damage

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) can cause further or result in permanent damage if you do not seek treatment right away. When a SCI occurs, the body’s natural response is to initiate inflammation and swelling at the injury site. While inflammation is a normal part of the healing process, excessive swelling within the confined space of the spinal canal can exert pressure on the spinal cord. This pressure can worsen the initial injury and lead to additional damage to the nerve tissue. In cases where surgical procedures are required, early intervention can prevent permanent damage to the spinal cord. For instance, surgical decompression of the spinal cord can help relieve pressure and improve the chances of recovery.

Reducing Secondary Complications

Early medical intervention and ongoing treatment are critical for preventing or minimizing secondary complications, such as: 

  • Infections: Open wounds or breaks in the skin, which can accompany SCIs, expose the body to the risk of infection. Infections, if left untreated, can worsen the injury by causing additional tissue damage.
  • Respiratory Complications: Some SCIs affect the muscles responsible for breathing. Medical care may involve the use of mechanical ventilation or other respiratory support to ensure proper oxygenation and prevent respiratory distress.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism: Immobility after a SCI increases the risk of blood clots, which can lead to DVT or, in severe cases, pulmonary embolism. Timely medical intervention can include blood-thinning medications, compression stockings, and mobilization exercises to reduce the risk of clot formation.
  • Autonomic Dysreflexia: This potentially life-threatening condition can occur in individuals with SCIs at or above the level of T6. Emergency medical care is required to identify and alleviate the triggering stimulus, typically a noxious stimulus below the level of injury, to prevent a dangerous spike in blood pressure.

Improving Long-Term Outcomes

Immediate medical attention can expedite the transition to rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is a critical phase in recovery, where individuals can regain function, independence, and quality of life more effectively. Through targeted exercises, mobility training, adaptive techniques, and education on managing daily life, patients can work on improving muscle strength, coordination, and functional independence. Programs also often provide psychological counseling and support to help individuals and their families adjust to the injury, manage stress, and foster a positive outlook, which can impact their long-term mental health. 

Legal and Insurance Considerations

Seeking immediate medical care for a SCI is not only crucial for health reasons but also has important legal and insurance considerations. Here are some key points to be aware of:

Preservation of Evidence

If the SCI resulted from another party’s negligence, seeking immediate medical care helps establish a clear link between the incident and the injury. This can be crucial if you decide to pursue an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Insurance Coverage

Delaying medical attention could potentially lead to insurance companies denying claims or providing limited coverage for treatment and rehabilitation.

What To Do If You've Had a Spinal Cord Injury

What To Do If You’ve Had A Spinal Cord Injury

The significance of swift medical intervention in cases of spinal cord injuries cannot be overstated. At Rosenbaum & Associates, we understand the life-altering consequences that such injuries can bring, affecting not only the individual but their loved ones as well. Time is of the essence, and our commitment to ensuring that our clients receive the immediate medical attention they deserve is unwavering.

By recognizing the urgency and advocating for prompt medical care, we aim to mitigate the long-term impact of spinal cord injuries. Our team is dedicated to pursuing justice for those who have suffered due to negligence, ensuring that the responsible parties are held accountable. With our extensive experience in personal injury and medical malpractice, we stand ready to support and guide you through the legal process, while prioritizing your well-being.

Remember, in the aftermath of a spinal cord injury, every moment counts. Contact the Philadelphia spinal cord injury lawyer from Rosenbaum Injury Law – because your health, your future, and your rights matter. Your journey to recovery begins with timely medical care and the right legal representation by your side.