A spinal cord injury to an individual can be responsible for an unfulfilled and poor quality of life. They lead to long-term disabilities and sometimes death. According to the World Health Organization, between 250,000 and 500,000 people suffer from spinal cord injuries every year. As a result of their injuries, they are two to five times more likely to die prematurely than people without a spinal cord injury.
What Are Spinal Cord Injuries?
Chin (2018), in his article, Spinal Cord Injuries, defined spinal cord injury as “an insult to the spinal cord resulting in a change, either temporary or permanent, in the cord’s normal motor, sensory, or automatic function.” Spinal cord injuries can lead to an abrupt change in a person’s life and career. Some may say it makes life lose its color. Everything becomes dark and dull. This is because of the pain and trauma that accompanies it.
Exemplifying these experiences is the mind-boggling case of ZeBarth v. Swedish Hosp. Med. Center. The plaintiff, aged 23 years old on duty with the United States Coast Guard, was rushed to the Coos Bay Hospital with a fever. On transfer to the United States Public Health Service Hospital in Seattle, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, which was described as malignant. The plaintiff was advised to get treated by radiation therapy which he did.
Unfortunately, an overdose of the radiation was corroborated by inconsistent documentation of the plaintiff’s treatment. The plaintiff became paralyzed after 12 months because of the mistake in his treatment. The paralysis led to his wife obtaining a divorce, prevented him from pursuing his hobby, interfered with his relationship with his children, made him suffer increasing dependence on narcotic drugs and many more ills.
Fortunately, the case was decided in his favor, and he was awarded adequate damages.
Causes of A Spinal Cord Injury
Several factors can cause an injury to the spinal cord. According to an article by Mayo Clinic on spinal cord injury, common causes of spinal cord injuries were highlighted. They include motor vehicle accidents, falls, acts of violence, sports and recreation injuries, and diseases.
Beyond these causes, spinal cord injuries can be caused by negligence, as seen in the case of Dodson v. J. Pacific, Inc., where the plaintiff suffered arthritis, central disk rupture, compression of the spinal cord, spinal cord signal changes, and quadriparesis (weakness in all four extremities as a result of a spinal cord injury) because of the defendant’s negligence. It can also be caused by medical malpractice. With all these causes also come several possible complications of spinal cord injuries.
How Can Legal Graphics Help Portray the Plethora of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Traumatic spinal cord injury cases can be complex. It may not stop at the injury to the victim alone; different factors can cause further complications.
For example, a person in an accident can sustain a spinal cord injury. The injury can be further complicated if there is medical malpractice in the victim’s treatment. This is exemplified in the case of Porter v. Decatur Memorial Hospital, where the plaintiff suffered a spinal cord injury after he got involved in an automobile accident.
Upon getting to the hospital, his treatments were wrongfully stopped by a medical practitioner, thus leading him to lose blood pressure and left leg function, which in itself is a symptom of a spinal cord injury complication.
There are several types of spinal cord injuries and complications. An article by Physiopedia titled Medical Complications in Spinal Cord Injury, listed several spinal cord injuries. They include autonomic dysfunction, spinal shock, neurogenic shock, cardiovascular complications, spinal contusion, gastrointestinal dysfunction, paralytic ileus, neurogenic bowel, urological dysfunction, spinal cord lesions, and many more. There are a lot of them, and they are complex to comprehend by non-specialists because it is an injury to an internal part of the body.
With the help of legal graphics, an attorney can easily communicate spinal cord injury complications to the jury. The graphics will help the jury understand the effect of the action or omission of the accused. It will also portray the progression of the complications in the plaintiff’s body and if it is related to the act or the omission of the accused person.
Therefore, in a spinal cord injury case, a victim should employ the services of a spinal cord injury lawyer, and a competent legal graphics company should also make legal graphics to strengthen the attorney’s positions further.