Last week, new research was released that is extremely important to any accident victim who has suffered severe injuries to their neck, back, and spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe injuries that an accident victim can face.
According to a new study released at this month’s annual meeting of the Association of Academic Physiatrists, the faster that someone with a spinal cord injury begins rehabilitation therapy, the better their chances of recovering bodily functions over time.
Spinal Cord Injury Victims Need Rehabilitation As Fast As Possible Per Latest Medical Research
In other words, time counts for spinal cord injury victims and they need to have rehabilitation in place as soon as possible after they have suffered harm to their spinal cord. It can make a big difference in how well they regain their physical function after their accident.
Specifically, a group effort involving researchers hailing from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Northwestern University combined to study and document the impact of rehabilitation on patients who had suffered spinal cord injuries.
The researchers studied what happened to them right after they were released from rehab and again, a year afterward. They discovered victims of spinal cord injuries who had early rehabilitation fared much better than those who had rehab scheduled much later in their recovery.
“We were interested in whether earlier rehabilitation would be associated with improved outcomes,” explains researcher Kurt Herzer from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “In other areas of medicine, we tend to recognize that the time between an acute health event and treatment matters.
For example, many patients are familiar with the adage that ‘time is muscle’ following a heart attack, and that delays in treatment increase the likelihood of damage to the heart. Our study is interested in a similar type of relationship between time and outcomes, but extending to the post-acute care setting — the time from spinal cord injury to rehabilitation….
“This study shows, following spinal cord injury, patients might benefit from entering inpatient rehabilitation at the earliest, clinically appropriate opportunity.”
The Rehabilitation Phase of Spinal Cord Injury Treatment
After someone has been seriously injured in an accident and suffered an injury to their neck, back, or spinal cord, they need to have expert medical care and treatment as soon as possible. For car crashes, truck accidents, etc., this may mean that first responders like the EMTs or paramedics work to stabilize the patient until they can be airlifted or driven by ambulance to the nearest hospital facility.
The accident victim who has suffered a severe spinal cord injury is now in the “acute phase” of their treatment. This begins from the time that they are hurt in the accident or crash until their medical team determines that their condition has stabilized.
After the spinal cord injury victim has stabilized, they segue from the “acute phase” of their treatment to the “rehabilitation phase.” This may take days, weeks, or months. It is in the rehab phase that the spinal cord victim begins the process of recovering their bodily functions and fighting against impairment.
For accident victims, it has long been recognized that getting proper medical care and treatment in their acute phase is vital for their long term prognosis and the likelihood of a full recovery from their spinal cord injury.
Now, the new John Hopkins research demonstrates that the rehabilitation phase is just as important for victims of spinal cord injuries. Doctors and medical professionals need to understand that getting the spinal cord injury patient into rehab as soon as it can be achieved is vital to their long term recovery from the accident.
Of course, each spinal cord injury is unique. When the acute phase ends for one patient is specific to that person’s circumstances and needs. Individual treatment plans for both the acute phase and the rehab phase are vital here.
Importance of New Research Study to Accident Victims Suffering Spinal Cord Injuries
This new research only serves to confirm the need for aggressive and proactive efforts on the part of those working on the accident victim’s behalf to make sure that they have the best care available to them and that there are no snags in getting that care due to things like an insurance adjuster’s stubborn refusals to allow policy coverage after an accident.
Sadly, the reality for the effective treatment for spinal cord injuries at either stage, acute or rehabilitation, is an expensive endeavor.
Now that it’s known that rehab needs to begin as soon as possible for the spinal cord accident victim, the need to make sure that there is financial protection for that patient and their long-term medical care needs is imperative.
Which means that legal accident claim demands and personal injury lawsuits need to be considered in many situations where a person has suffered a spinal cord injury, such as:
- construction site falls;
- car accidents;
- semi truck crashes;
- motorcycle accidents;
- School sports injuries (football, etc.); and
- Sport vehicle accidents (ATVs, etc.).
Personal injury accident claims work to help people who have been seriously injured in an accident to recover damages for things like medical expenses, long term rehab costs (inpatient and outpatient) and physical therapy, as well as daily life needs like lost wages, lost future earning capacity, loss in quality of life, and pain and suffering.
Knowing that rehab is needed fast for some spinal cord accident victims means that accident victims and their advocates will need to work fast, as well, to make sure that they get the financial help and support they need to recover from injuries they have suffered because of the actions (or failure to act) of another.
Be careful out there!