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The critical moments following a spinal cord injury

If your loved one was recently in an accident that caused first responders to suspect a spinal cord injury, you may have witnessed some frightening and confusing activity. In such situations, the first concern of medical responders is typically to clear the victim's airways and protect the spine from further damage. This involves stabilizing your loved one using a cervical collar and backboard.

Once your loved one reached a California trauma center, a medical team went into action. They may not have had time to explain each step along the way, but the waiting and uncertainty may have seemed more than you could bear. If you understand the important interventions your loved one's team performed, you may have a clearer idea of the type of injury with which your loved one is dealing.

Stabilizing your loved one

Just like any other body part, when the spinal cord suffers damage, it may become inflamed and swell. This can produce devastating complications for your loved one, so doctors probably followed protocol for reducing the swelling. This may include steroid drugs, sedation, traction or lowering your loved one's body temperature.

Doctors worked quickly to determine the location and extent of your loved one's injuries by running a series of diagnostic tests and scans. The type of injury your loved one suffered may have left herniation, bone fragments or other risks that required doctors to take surgical measures. Surgery to repair and stabilize the vertebrae may have been the preferred choice of your loved one's medical team.

What happens next?

Once doctors stabilized your loved one, you may have received more information about the results of their tests. You learned where on the spinal column the injury occurred and what that means for your loved one's future. Will your loved one require a ventilator to breathe? Can you expect any improvement in mobility? Will doctors perform further surgical procedures? What secondary conditions should you prepare for?

It did not take long before you realized you would need extensive help to provide your loved one with a standard of life as normal as possible. This may have felt enormously unfair, especially if the accident that resulted in your loved one's spinal cord injury occurred because of someone else's negligence or reckless actions.

Now you and your family are left with the heavy burden of adjusting to your new reality. The last thing you want to worry about is how to pay for the care your loved one needs. With the help of an attorney, you can learn of the options for pursuing financial compensation from every possible source so that you and your family can look to the future with hope.

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