Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can be divided into several categories: inherited, birth trauma, and acquired. Acquired spinal cord injuries is a broad category covering infectious agents or mechanical forces that cause spinal cord injury. Other types of acquired spinal cord injury can be due to surgical error, such as a wrong move by an anesthesiologist or during surgery. Infectious agents can also harm the spinal cord. These agents can be bacterial, fungal, or viral. Symptoms of such infections are typically fever and flu-like symptoms. Many of the same diseases effect the spinal cord or the brain in the same way. Bacteria, for example, if attracted to neural tissue-are not particular as to where its location is. Abscess or infection near the spinal cord can spread to the spinal cord and through the brain as both share the cerebral spinal fluid that acts as a shock absorber and barrier for the central nervous system as a whole. Systemic infections such as toxemia or septicemia can also affect the neural tissues. 

What comes to most peoples’ minds when they think of spinal cord injury is in the form of physical trauma or force applied to the spinal cord. The most serious consequences of spinal cord injury are death or paralysis. The spinal cord is the central communication system with the brain for the entire body. The extent of damage with spinal injuries is dependent on where the spinal cord was injured. The nerves corresponding to the location on the spine and everything beyond that point are potential sites of nerve damage, or nerves failing to respond further. The further up the spinal cord an injury occurs, the more significant the implications can be. The neck portion of the spinal cord is the worse place for an injury to occur as an injury to the “C-spine” can result in not only paralysis of everything below the injury site, but also the ability to breath. 

Spinal cord injury can happen from cuts or severing of the spinal nerves by bone fragments, or outside objects (needle, car metal, bullet). Twisting or over extensions of the spinal column can injure the spinal cord. Inflammation or fluid accumulations can also put pressure on the spinal cord that hinders signal transduction. The symptoms of spinal injury are loss of sensation, weakness, or inability to move or feels part of the body at or below the place the spinal cord was injured. The symptoms vary in severity dependent on the damage and can effect one or both sides of the body. Below are listings of spinal cord injury symptoms based on the part of the spine effected (Cervical spine, thoracic, lumbar regions, sacral region).

Cervical spine injury symptoms

  • Can affect arms, legs, and trunk of the body
  • Loss of sensation, weakness, or numbness to any parts listed above 
  • Paralysis
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control 
  • Sensory changes
  • Pain

Thoracic spine injury symptoms:  

  • Can affect the lower half of the body and legs
  • Loss of sensation, weakness, or numbness to any of the parts listed above
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control 
  • Pain

Lumbar and Sacral spine injury symptoms: 

  • Can affect the legs and smooth muscle regulating lower body functions
  • Loss of sensation, weakness, or numbness to any of the parts listed above
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Pain 

If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury due to a surgical error, anesthesiologist error, or the worsening of a condition that was misdiagnosed, you may be eligible for damages. Call the experts at the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts to see if you have a spinal injury medical malpractice case. There is no cost for representation unless there is a settlement or cash recovery made on your behalf.