Car accidents and falls are among the leading causes of spinal cord injuries across the country and here in Colorado. The spinal cord is uniquely important and so medical professionals must handle these injuries with immense care and precaution at every stage.
Training for emergency medical personnel includes strict protocols for assessing and immobilizing any possible spinal cord injury. If paramedics respond to an accident and they find a person who may have a spinal cord injury, they must:
- Immobilize the head and neck manually
- Apply a neck brace
- Gently remove the victim from the vehicle holding the body as straight as possible
- Strap the patient to a backboard
These precautions are strenuous, and for a patient that is completely awake, extremely uncomfortable. However, EMTs use these protocols because any shift, any bend can exacerbate a spinal cord injury.
Only upon arrival at a trauma center can doctors even begin to eliminate the possibility of an injury, let alone begin treating one.
When doctors diagnose a spinal injury, they’ll use a combination of physical exams, x-rays, CT scans and MRIs to determine the severity and exact placement. After the medical team understands how bad the injury is, you will begin treatment. In some cases, this may require surgery. You will certainly have to rest and allow the injury time to heal.
Post-treatment for spinal injuries may involve extensive rehabilitation and physical therapy. In many cases, people must relearn skills such as walking, using the bathroom and feeding themselves.
It all adds up
Insurance companies have little interest in your injury or your recovery after an accident. If given a reason, they will deny you the care you need to get back on your feet. That’s why it is in your interest to fight for every ounce of compensation you deserve.