Spinal Cord Injuries FAQs
What should I consider when choosing a rehabilitation hospital?
Depending upon your injury, you will likely be transferred to different wing of the hospital, or to a different specialty hospital or rehabilitation facility, for a period of rehabilitation which may last many months or more. This phase of your treatment is essential to maximizing your potential for employability, independence, and self-care.
Seek the advice of your doctor or neurologist. Which facility would your physician pick if he or she or a family member were the patient? Don’t limit yourself to only local or in-state options. One of the most important things to know is whether the facility has experience with or specializes in your particular type of injury. How many patients with your injury does the facility treat annually? Other important facts to know include whether the facility is accredited by a reputable organization, the size of the nursing staff and their caseload, and the qualifications and experience of the medical staff, particularly the person who will be your primary physician. Finally, find out what services are available to family members, such as on-site housing or shuttle service, and dining and shopping areas within a safe walking distance. Find the right combination of factors that will help make your recovery as quick, effective and full as it can be.
What is a physiatrist?
A physiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in rehabilitation and physical medicine, which is the diagnosis and treatment of pain and injury through physical means, such as exercise and massage. You rehabilitation will likely include, or even be supervised by, a physiatrist, who will work with your neurologist, primary physician, and a team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and social workers as needed.
What happens if the spinal cord is damaged, but not completely severed?
A significant fraction of paraplegia and quadriplegia cases are known as incomplete injuries. This happens when the spinal cord is bruised due to pressure on it from a vertebra or bone fragment, or foreign object lodged in the spine. This damage may cause a complete paralysis of the peripheral nerves controlled by that particular point on the spinal cord, with only partial paralysis of the nerves below the point of injury. In some cases this paralysis is temporary, and once the pressure is relieved, feeling and function can be restored. It is most likely, however, that some form of permanent injury will endure. It is important to have realistic expectations, but also to maintain hope and seek the best care, treatment, and rehabilitation possible in the case of an incomplete injury.
For further information or a personalized consultation with a New York attorney experienced in representing the victims of spinal cord injury, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation.