One of the most common causes of serious Fort Lauderdale spinal cord injuries is traffic accidents. The impact of a Fort Lauderdale car accident or truck accident is enough to twist the body and cause a severe enough impact to cause a spinal cord injury. In some Fort Lauderdale truck accidents, a person is thrown from a vehicle, pinned under a vehicle, or is injured when an object comes into sharp contact the back. In any of these cases, a serious spinal injury can occur.
If you have been in a Fort Lauderdale traffic accident and you suspect that someone at the scene has sustained a spinal injury, contact 911 immediately. A spinal cord injury is a medical emergency. In some cases, patients are paralyzed in such a way that their hearts stop beating or they stop breathing. Medical help is required right away. Even if a patient is breathing on their own, immediate medical assistance can increase the possibility that the patient will recover some mobility. If you suspect a spinal cord injury, however, it is important not to move the victim at the scene without instructions from medical personnel. Moving someone who has sustained a traumatic spinal injury can make the injury worse.
Once a Fort Lauderdale spinal cord injury patient is attended to by emergency medical personnel, the first thing that emergency responders will do is to check the patient’s heart and breathing. If the injury is to the upper neck area, the patient may need a ventilator, breathing tube, or other help to breathe.
Once the patient is breathing normally, emergency responders will immobilize the patient, often by using a backboard or a cervical collar. Since further movement can cause the injury to become worse, these devices ensure that the patient will not move en route to the hospital.
Once in the hospital, doctors will evaluate the injury and offer immediate treatment, which will depend on the severity and type of injury. In many cases, patients will be given steroid-based medications to reduce swelling and inflammation near the spinal cord, both of which can make the injury worse. Usually, steroids need to be administered within eight hours of the injury.
Doctors will also usually decide on surgery and on further immobilization devices to attempt to reduce any risk of further damage to the spinal cord. Patients may be placed in a halo device or in traction, for example. If surgery is needed, it is usually to stabilize the spine and to reduce any pressure on the spinal cord. To this end, surgery for a Fort Lauderdale spinal cord injury may involve removing some parts of the vertebrae or anything else that may be compressing the spine. It can also involve placing plates, screws, and rods on the vertebrae to keep them stable while the bones heal.
Once these immediate treatment options are exhausted, most Fort Lauderdale spinal cord injury patients can expect a long road to healing. The next steps in treatment usually involve rehabilitation as well as treatment of any complications. Rehabilitation and counseling will help patients recover as much mobility as possible and adjust to life with new mobility issues. Fort Lauderdale spinal cord injury patients are also prone to blood clots, pneumonia, incontinence, urinary tract infections, chronic pain, muscle spasms, depression, sores, and other problems. Part of the treatment, therefore, is to identify and treat these problems as they arise.
Obviously, the treatment for Fort Lauderdale spinal cord injuries is complex and can therefore be very expensive. If your injury has been caused by negligence or a wrongful act, contact the Flaxman Law Group to arrange a free consultation. Under Florida law, you may have options that can help you secure compensation to pay for medical costs and other costs related to your injury.