Some individuals who are in motor vehicle wrecks suffer from spinal cord injuries. This is a serious situation that requires the person to seek emergency medical care. While this is necessary, it is often scary because there’s a lot going on with a many medical professionals around. The person might be in pain, but that isn’t going to be the priority at first.
Many times, a spinal cord injury patient is going to receive their first care from paramedics who attempt to stabilize them at the scene of the accident and then transport them to the emergency room. There are two primary focuses at the scene. The first is to make sure the person is breathing and has a heartbeat. The second is to stabilize the spine.
Immediate care at the hospital
The care at the hospital builds on what the paramedics did at the scene of the vehicle wreck. The hospital staff will try to ensure that the patient is stable before they do anything else. This can involve putting them on a ventilator if they can’t breathe on their own because of the injury. It may also require traction or specialized immobilization techniques.
Protecting the spinal cord
The protection of the spinal cord is the priority after the patient is stabilized. At this point, the goal is to stop spinal shock from doing more damage to the spinal cord. In the days following the accident, the spinal cord may swell and the body’s immune system reacts to the damage, which can actually cause more damage.
In order to combat the swelling and inflammation, medical professionals may decide to use therapeutic hypothermia, which involves strategically cooling the body to encourage healing without complicating the situation. There’s also a chance that the doctors will use medications like steroids to help keep the swelling under control.
Aiding the healing process
The next focus is helping the person heal as much as possible. In the past, it was believed that things like surgery or therapy needed to wait until after the spinal shock abated. This isn’t the case now. Doctors will often begin treating the injury right away. Surgery isn’t put off when it’s needed, and patients might start therapy shortly after the accident.
Working with the medical care team can benefit these patients greatly because people who are willing to work toward healing as much as possible may have a better success rate. For some, the therapies and treatments available might be limited because of monetary reasons. These individuals can to pursue a claim for compensation from the party that caused the accident that injured them.