You’ve always put your absolute faith in your doctors at Appalachian Regional Hospital. So when your relative died after a spinal cord injury, you had no reason to suspect that the hospital could have played a part in the tragedy. After all, the accident would have caused serious damage to your loved one, and it’s not the hospital staff’s fault that they weren’t able to rescue him.
While the trauma from a spinal cord injury can certainly cause untimely death, there are many side effects of the condition that can prove fatal if they are not monitored carefully. Most victims will suffer lifelong complications stemming from a spinal cord injury that must all be treated as separate conditions, including:
- Obesity – If patients cannot move easily on their own, they will likely be unable to get sufficient exercise. Patients may also suffer depression that leads to overeating and drug or alcohol abuse—making it even more difficult to control their weight.
- Bowel and bladder problems – If a patient has lost function below the waist, he may suffer chronic urinary tract infections, kidney disease, or a fatal bowel blockage.
- Infections – Victims living with an injury to the cervical spine will often suffer pressure sores due to a lack of mobility. If the patient needs a tube to breathe or a catheter for urine, he is even more prone to bacterial infection.
- Blood clots – It is not uncommon for spinal cord injury victims to suffer deep vein thrombosis, stroke, or a cardiac infarction as a result of blood clots traveling throughout their bodies.
In many cases, hospitals may be liable for the death of a patient—but if families don’t ask questions, the hospital doesn’t offer answers. If someone you know is coping with a spinal cord injury death at ARH, feel free to forward them a link to this article on Facebook or Google+ to keep them informed.