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Serious respiratory complications caused by spinal cord injuries

As we touched on last week, spinal cord injuries are one of the types of injuries that might occur in car accidents. These types of injuries can be very severe. In some cases, such as when the cervical spine is injured, there is a chance that the injured person will suffer from respiratory complications. Ohio readers might be interested in learning about these respiratory complications.

Any spinal cord injury can cause respiratory issues; however, cervical spine injuries are most likely to cause respiratory complications. The cervical spine is the area of the spine that starts at the base of the skull and goes to around the shoulder area.

A cervical spine injury might cause a person to be ventilator dependent. This means that the person is unable to breathe on his or her own. This type of respiratory complication usually involves costly medical care and possibly lengthy hospital stays.

Pulmonary embolisms are another respiratory complication that can occur when the spinal cord is injured. This condition occurs when one of the blood vessels leading to a lung is blocked by a blood clot. Pulmonary embolisms are deadly. In fact, they are the second leading cause of a person with a spinal cord injury dying within the first year after the accident.

Pneumonia is another respiratory complication that is associated with spinal cord injuries. It doesn't matter where the injury occurred or how long it has been since the accident, pneumonia can be very dangerous for a person with a spinal cord injury. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death for spinal cord injury sufferers.

Frequent doctor visits and complex care, including considerable home care, are associated with spinal cord injuries. Those expenses coupled with the victim's potential lack of income because of the injury can lead to financial ruin. For this reason, people who suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident might choose to seek compensation for their injuries.

Source: National Spinal Cord Injury Association, "Respiratory complications after spinal cord injury" Oct. 03, 2014

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