Your son has just been in a serious car crash in Louisville. The emergency room personnel say it’s a wonder he even survived because he seems to have a severed spinal cord.
What kind of life will he have now?
What Is the Spinal Cord?
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves approximately 18 inches long, running from the base of the brain to the waist. The nerves of the spinal cord carry messages back and forth from the brain to the spinal nerves to the myriad parts of the body. Around the spinal cord are rings of bone called vertebra, which make up the spinal column.
The Facts About Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that results in loss of sensation or mobility. The injury is usually caused by trauma or disease.
The higher in the spinal column the injury occurs, generally, the worse the dysfunction:
- A spinal cord injury in the area of the eight cervical vertebrae—the neck—usually results in quadriplegia, meaning a loss of function in the arms and legs.
- Injury to the spinal cord in the chest region, consisting of twelve thoracic vertebrae, usually affects the chest and legs, resulting in paraplegia.
- The five lumbar vertebrae are found in the low back region between the thoracic vertebrae, at the point where the ribs join, and the pelvis. Injury to the spinal cord in this area causes some loss of function to the hips and legs.
- Spinal cord injury in the area of the five sacral vertebrae, from the pelvis to the bottom of the spinal column, also affects the hips and legs.
According to Shepherd Center, most people who sustain an SCI do not completely sever the spinal cord, but the damage they suffer causes the loss of function. An individual can rupture a disc or have damage to the bones around the spinal cord without harming the cord itself. Loss of function in these cases often returns once the bones are stabilized.
Results of a Severed Spinal Cord
The consequences of a severed spinal cord depend on how completely the cord was severed and where the cord is injured:
- When the spinal cord is only partially severed, the area of the body below the injury will likely retain some degree of functionality.
- A completely severed cord results in paralysis and loss of feeling below the point of injury.
- When only the front of the cord is injured, the individual is paralyzed and cannot feel pain or temperature below the point of injury, although other sensations may get through.
- If the center of the cord is damaged, the legs may be paralyzed but not the arms.
- Damage to either the right or left half of the cord results in loss of position sense, paralysis on the side of injury, and loss of the sensations of pain and temperature on the opposite side of injury.
A spinal cord or brain injury in Kentucky will require intensive care, which means a vast amount of money. Call Gray and White Law at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.