It may be hard to believe, but often a spinal cord injury patient’s highest risk doesn’t come from the injury itself. Rather, the patient is jeopardized by secondary conditions related to the SCI. Below are some common secondary conditions that can negatively impact an SCI patient.
— Bladder and bowel dysfunction. Incontinence can decimate an injured person’s quality of life.
— Sepsis. This medical emergency requires urgent treatment, preferably in the first hour it develops.
— Autonomic dysreflexia. Irritations below the SCI can cause this life-threatening condition, as the pain cannot be felt by the patient.
— Deep vein thrombosis. When blood clots form in the lower legs and move to the lungs, a fatal embolism can occur.
— Respiratory difficulties. Contracting pneumonia when you are on a ventilator can be deadly.
— Poor skin integrity. Decubitus ulcers are a real health emergency that require careful management.
SCI patients have to deal with all of these complications and more, as this list was not all-inclusive. Managing secondary complications can delay or prevent the full extent of an SCI patient’s recovery. Those suffering from these secondary issues may require extended hospital stays or be readmitted after an initial discharge from the hospital.
All of these problems can run up a mountain of hospital bills and medical expenses. Rehabilitative care with round-the-clock caregivers might be necessary for weeks, months or even years.
All of these complications and potential future problems must be carefully considered when seeking financial recovery for your injuries following an accident. Failing to include costs of all treatment, medical supplies and supervision can strip dollars from damage awards that prove insufficient over time. Make sure that your Los Angeles attorney includes future medical expenses in your damage claim to avoid this common problem.
Source: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, “What are the secondary issues related to SCI that might impact my health?,” accessed March 11, 2016