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Spinal Cord Injuries

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Spinal Cord Injuries

Brien Roche

A spinal cord injury is life-altering. It impacts lives of victims short-term and long-term.  Spinal cord injuries create a host of health problems.  The spinal cord begins at the base of the skull. It extends to the lower back.  It is a composite of nerves (neurons) that transmit electrical messages to and from the brain and to and from different parts of the body. When these electrical signals are impaired they cause a loss of motor skills and sensation. 

Electricity in your body is what allows you stand up straight. Also it allows you to bend over. It allows you to do things with your hands. Without it you are just a blob.

Injuries to the spinal cord are either complete or incomplete. A complete injury means that there is no sensation or controlled movement below the level of the injury. However an incomplete injury means that there is still some function below the point of the injury. Paraplegia is an injury to the spinal cord that occurs in the mid-back or lower back region. Quadriplegia is an injury that occurs in the neck area. If you have suffered such an injury contact personal injury attorney Brien Roche. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Spinal cord injuries arise in a number of ways. They can be from car crashes, medical malpractice, slip and falls or acts of violence.  The compensation for such injuries varies. It will depend in part on the locale in which you live in.  This article discusses these injuries and the main types of compensation open to those pursuing a spinal cord claim.

Types of Compensation for Spinal Cord Injury Claim

Damage awards serve the purpose of placing the victim in their pre-injury condition by paying for any losses. The main types of damage are payment for medical expense and pain and suffering. In addition there are the cost of assistive devices, modifications to make the victims’ homes accessible and loss of income.

Reimbursement of Medical Expenses:   These are damages given to reimburse the victim for the treatment received and the estimated costs in the future. However these awards may be subject to a subrogation lien from the health insurer.

Pain and Suffering:  Pain and suffering damages compensate victims for the suffering from discomfort due to their spinal cord injury.

Assistive Devices:   Assistive devices such as wheelchairs, crutches and canes may be needed.

Modifications for Accessibility:  This is to pay for changes needed to make the victim’s home more accessible after the injury.

Spinal Cord Injuries May Necessitate a Wide Range of Experts

Spinal cord injuries can involve a host of different medical specialists.  The neurosurgeon will decide if surgery is necessary. A neurologist is a non-surgical doctor who deals with the problems post-surgery or in lieu of surgery.

In some cases an orthopedic doctor may be involved. The spinal cord is encased within the spinal column. This is a series of interlocking bones. They are designed to protect the spinal cord from injury.  Many spinal cord injuries involve some bony injury. As a result there is the need for the orthopedic doctor.

Where a lawsuit is expected there may be a need for a host of other expert witnesses. A life care planner, in some cases a doctor, can project out what is the cost of future care. In addition an economist may be a needed to project out what the future loss of income is or present value of future care.

These witnesses depend on each other.  However the most important of these experts is the doctor. The doctor will express an opinion as to the extent of disability.   Based upon that the life care planner can then project out certain costs.  Also it is based upon that disability that the economist premises his opinions.

You must recognize this interdependence. In addition you need to recognize the priority of the doctors in laying the foundation for the other experts.

Spinal Fusions On the Rise

In the year 2011 more than 465,000 people had spinal fusion surgeries in the U.S. However some experts believe that as many as half of them were not needed. On October 28, 2013 an article from The Washington Post focused on a neurosurgeon in Florida. He was performing an excessive number of spinal fusions.

The rate of spinal fusion surgery in the U.S. has risen six-fold in the last 20 years.

The procedure is the joining of two or more vertebrae in the spinal column.  It has become more common than hip replacements.

The Washington Post article found that the hospital in Florida that employed the neurosurgeon gave financial incentives for their surgeons. As a result the doctors were rewarded for performing more procedures.  The hospital was making nearly $80,000.00 per spinal fusion.   In addition the companies that sell the hardware used in the fusions were making nearly $7,000.00 per fusion.  The doctor was making $6,000.00 per procedure.

Medicare has waffled on the issue of the need for many of these fusions.

The increase in the number is in part due to the improvements in technology. There is more refined imaging. Also there are improved spinal devices. In addition there is greater demand by Americans for greater mobility.

However the money motive cannot be ignored.  The sales of spinal fusion equipment in the U.S. is nearly $5.1 billion per year. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Alternatives To Spinal Fusion Surgery

Some experts discourage the use of spinal fusions. Problems such as stenosis, herniated discs and disc degeneration alone do not justify the procedure. There should also be problems of spinal instability or deformity.

A simpler procedure to deal with some of these problems is known as decompression.  However this procedure carries a $1,000.00 fee for the doctor. The more complex fusion has a fee six times that amount.

Spina Bifida

Although this is not a result of trauma it is a spinal cord injury. Babies with spina bifida have surgery either before or after birth. The spinal cord that protrudes through the spinal column is inserted back into the column and sealed.The condition consists of the spinal column not closing around the spinal cord.

The results of a federally funded study released on February 9, 2011 indicates that 42% of those babies who receive this surgery in the womb were able to walk compared with about 21% of those who had the surgery after birth.

There are risks with the pre-birth procedure. They include ruptured membranes resulting in C-sections. Future births may then need to be C-section.

Spina bifida is the most common birth defect in the central nervous system.  Approximately 1,500 babies are born each year with the most severe form of this condition.   Where this is not corrected children have lifelong disabilities. They include paralysis, bladder and bowel problems and excessive fluid buildup in the brain.

Chiari Malformations

Chiari malformations consist of brain tissue from the cerebellum of the brain protruding into the spinal canal.  These are congenital.   The brain tissue can block the flow of spinal fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord.  It disrupts signals that should be transmitted to other parts of the body.  They can result in cavities in the spinal cord that fill with fluid. 

At that point, surgery is needed.  The surgery involves cutting through the skull to remove a small section of bone at the back of the skull and at the top of the vertebrae.  If the symptoms have progressed to the point where surgery is needed and is not performed, then the result can be hydrocephalus. This is a buildup of fluid inside the skull. The fluid compresses the brain causing severe neurological problems.

Seeking Legal Help For Spinal Cord Claims

If you have a spinal cord injury claim retain an attorney who knows personal injury law. This is the first step to obtaining what you may be entitled to because of your injury.

Call, or contact us for a free consult. Also for more info about your spinal cord injury claim and personal injury in general, see the other pages on this site. Also see the pages on Wikipedia.

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Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Spinal Cord Injuries

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Spinal Cord Injuries

Brien Roche

A spinal cord injury is life-altering. It impacts lives of victims short-term and long-term.  Spinal cord injuries create a host of health problems.  The spinal cord begins at the base of the skull. It extends to the lower back.  It is a composite of nerves (neurons) that transmit electrical messages to and from the brain and to and from different parts of the body. When these electrical signals are impaired they cause a loss of motor skills and sensation. 

Electricity in your body is what allows you stand up straight. Also it allows you to bend over. It allows you to do things with your hands. Without it you are just a blob.

Injuries to the spinal cord are either complete or incomplete. A complete injury means that there is no sensation or controlled movement below the level of the injury. However an incomplete injury means that there is still some function below the point of the injury. Paraplegia is an injury to the spinal cord that occurs in the mid-back or lower back region. Quadriplegia is an injury that occurs in the neck area. If you have suffered such an injury contact personal injury attorney Brien Roche. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Spinal cord injuries arise in a number of ways. They can be from car crashes, medical malpractice, slip and falls or acts of violence.  The compensation for such injuries varies. It will depend in part on the locale in which you live in.  This article discusses these injuries and the main types of compensation open to those pursuing a spinal cord claim.

Types of Compensation for Spinal Cord Injury Claim

Damage awards serve the purpose of placing the victim in their pre-injury condition by paying for any losses. The main types of damage are payment for medical expense and pain and suffering. In addition there are the cost of assistive devices, modifications to make the victims’ homes accessible and loss of income.

Reimbursement of Medical Expenses:   These are damages given to reimburse the victim for the treatment received and the estimated costs in the future. However these awards may be subject to a subrogation lien from the health insurer.

Pain and Suffering:  Pain and suffering damages compensate victims for the suffering from discomfort due to their spinal cord injury.

Assistive Devices:   Assistive devices such as wheelchairs, crutches and canes may be needed.

Modifications for Accessibility:  This is to pay for changes needed to make the victim’s home more accessible after the injury.

Spinal Cord Injuries May Necessitate a Wide Range of Experts

Spinal cord injuries can involve a host of different medical specialists.  The neurosurgeon will decide if surgery is necessary. A neurologist is a non-surgical doctor who deals with the problems post-surgery or in lieu of surgery.

In some cases an orthopedic doctor may be involved. The spinal cord is encased within the spinal column. This is a series of interlocking bones. They are designed to protect the spinal cord from injury.  Many spinal cord injuries involve some bony injury. As a result there is the need for the orthopedic doctor.

Where a lawsuit is expected there may be a need for a host of other expert witnesses. A life care planner, in some cases a doctor, can project out what is the cost of future care. In addition an economist may be a needed to project out what the future loss of income is or present value of future care.

These witnesses depend on each other.  However the most important of these experts is the doctor. The doctor will express an opinion as to the extent of disability.   Based upon that the life care planner can then project out certain costs.  Also it is based upon that disability that the economist premises his opinions.

You must recognize this interdependence. In addition you need to recognize the priority of the doctors in laying the foundation for the other experts.

Spinal Fusions On the Rise

In the year 2011 more than 465,000 people had spinal fusion surgeries in the U.S. However some experts believe that as many as half of them were not needed. On October 28, 2013 an article from The Washington Post focused on a neurosurgeon in Florida. He was performing an excessive number of spinal fusions.

The rate of spinal fusion surgery in the U.S. has risen six-fold in the last 20 years.

The procedure is the joining of two or more vertebrae in the spinal column.  It has become more common than hip replacements.

The Washington Post article found that the hospital in Florida that employed the neurosurgeon gave financial incentives for their surgeons. As a result the doctors were rewarded for performing more procedures.  The hospital was making nearly $80,000.00 per spinal fusion.   In addition the companies that sell the hardware used in the fusions were making nearly $7,000.00 per fusion.  The doctor was making $6,000.00 per procedure.

Medicare has waffled on the issue of the need for many of these fusions.

The increase in the number is in part due to the improvements in technology. There is more refined imaging. Also there are improved spinal devices. In addition there is greater demand by Americans for greater mobility.

However the money motive cannot be ignored.  The sales of spinal fusion equipment in the U.S. is nearly $5.1 billion per year. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Alternatives To Spinal Fusion Surgery

Some experts discourage the use of spinal fusions. Problems such as stenosis, herniated discs and disc degeneration alone do not justify the procedure. There should also be problems of spinal instability or deformity.

A simpler procedure to deal with some of these problems is known as decompression.  However this procedure carries a $1,000.00 fee for the doctor. The more complex fusion has a fee six times that amount.

Spina Bifida

Although this is not a result of trauma it is a spinal cord injury. Babies with spina bifida have surgery either before or after birth. The spinal cord that protrudes through the spinal column is inserted back into the column and sealed.The condition consists of the spinal column not closing around the spinal cord.

The results of a federally funded study released on February 9, 2011 indicates that 42% of those babies who receive this surgery in the womb were able to walk compared with about 21% of those who had the surgery after birth.

There are risks with the pre-birth procedure. They include ruptured membranes resulting in C-sections. Future births may then need to be C-section.

Spina bifida is the most common birth defect in the central nervous system.  Approximately 1,500 babies are born each year with the most severe form of this condition.   Where this is not corrected children have lifelong disabilities. They include paralysis, bladder and bowel problems and excessive fluid buildup in the brain.

Chiari Malformations

Chiari malformations consist of brain tissue from the cerebellum of the brain protruding into the spinal canal.  These are congenital.   The brain tissue can block the flow of spinal fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord.  It disrupts signals that should be transmitted to other parts of the body.  They can result in cavities in the spinal cord that fill with fluid. 

At that point, surgery is needed.  The surgery involves cutting through the skull to remove a small section of bone at the back of the skull and at the top of the vertebrae.  If the symptoms have progressed to the point where surgery is needed and is not performed, then the result can be hydrocephalus. This is a buildup of fluid inside the skull. The fluid compresses the brain causing severe neurological problems.

Seeking Legal Help For Spinal Cord Claims

If you have a spinal cord injury claim retain an attorney who knows personal injury law. This is the first step to obtaining what you may be entitled to because of your injury.

Call, or contact us for a free consult. Also for more info about your spinal cord injury claim and personal injury in general, see the other pages on this site. Also see the pages on Wikipedia.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation