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Childhood spinal cord injuries have far reaching effects

Children who suffer from an acute spinal cord injury will have a lifetime of problems to cope with. Not only are these children likely to be disabled, they are likely to have considerable medical interventions necessary just to get out of the hospital.

Parents of these children are likely going to have to provide around-the-clock medical care for the child. The need for this care might not end when the child becomes an adult.

Initially, the child might face time in the intensive care unit of the hospital. This is because the child might experience spinal shock, which a preliminary and temporary condition that causes the symptoms of the spinal cord injury to be worse than what they will eventually settle to be.

When the child comes home, the amount of medical care and other assistance that is necessary depends on the severity and location of the injury. Higher level injuries might mean the child is ventilator dependent for life. Many spinal cord injuries lead to a child having to have a bladder catheter and some cause fecal incontinence. Feeding tubes and other interventions might also be necessary.

Another way that child's life changes is that the direction of their life may be altered. The focus has to be placed on helping the child learn to live a full life with the disabilities that are present. This can be a challenge since some children will have difficulties coping with the inability to do things as they once did.

The cost of care for a lifetime after a childhood spinal cord injury can be considerable. Parents who are dealing with this situation might decide that they are going to seek compensation for the cost of these injuries from the party responsible for the accident.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center, "Acute Spinal Cord Injury in Children," accessed Feb. 01, 2017

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