Only minutes after a drunk driver’s car collided with your vehicle, you realized that a lifetime of struggles await you. Although you are conscious after the rollover, you realize that you cannot move – the result of a spinal injury.
These may be the initial thoughts of a person who has suffered such a life-changing injury. Plenty of challenges are in store for someone who suffered a fractured vertebrae and damaged spinal cord. Paralysis below the waist and neck are obviously the most serious, but many other physical challenges exist as well.
Infections and cardiovascular disease
Paraplegics and quadriplegics face ongoing challenges that may include:
- Infections: For people paralyzed from the waist down, infections represent the main cause of death, according to the Infectious Diseased Society of America. Such infections may damage the kidneys, lungs and skin.
- Blood clots: Someone who is paralyzed has an increased chance of having blood clots form in the legs and abdomen. Those clots may travel to the heart – leading to a heart attack – or the lungs – leading to a pulmonary embolism.
- Cardiovascular disease: Victims of spinal cord injuries have increased chances of coronary disease. The reasons include lack of physical activity, reduction in muscle mass and related ailments such as high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol.
- Incontinence: Nerve damage often leads to losing control of the bladder and bowel.
Ongoing medical treatment likely will help you to a point, so may the strong support from family and friends. But understand that most of these challenges may never go away.
Continue to persevere
A terrible mistake by another driver has left you with a permanent reminder of what happened. As a victim of paralysis, you may be eligible for compensation because of that person’s negligence. But, in the meantime, try to stay as optimistic as possible, accept what happened and continue to preserve.