Hundreds of thousands of people experience spinal cord injuries each year, and these injuries can permanently alter the course of a person’s life. What challenges might a person face when living with a spinal cord injury?
The symptoms of a spinal cord injury can impact a person’s quality of life.
People with injuries to the spinal cord experience a variety of symptoms. They may lose function, feeling and motor control in the areas below the injury. They may experience chronic pain due to the damage to their nerves. People with severe injuries can have difficulty breathing or maintaining their heart rate and blood pressure. These symptoms can have a profound impact on an injured person’s daily life.
People living with spinal cord injuries face significant expenses.
The Christopher Reeve Foundation estimates that less than 1 percent of patients have fully recovered by the time they leave the hospital. Often, this means that the initial treatment for their injury is only the beginning. Depending on the severity of the injury, care for a spinal cord injury can costs between $347,484 and $1,064,716 for the first year, and the average annual cost of care may be between $42,206 and $184,891 for each subsequent year.
Patients may also face other hidden costs while pursuing treatment for their injury. They may need to travel for medical care, eat at restaurants more often while receiving treatment or even stay at a hotel if treatment takes them far enough from their home. Injured people may also need to modify their home or vehicle.
Spinal cord injuries often leave people unable to pursue a career.
The impact of a spinal cord injury on a person’s work is often significant. One review found that only 12 percent of people were able to return to their previous employment after a spinal cord injury. Many are unable to return to work at all, with employment rates for people living with spinal cord injuries in North America at around 30 percent. This can leave injured people without their previous income while facing the costs of medical care.
Because of all the ways that a spinal cord injury can impact a person’s life after an accident, people suffering from these injuries and their loved ones should explore all of their options for compensation.