If your loved one has recently suffered a spinal cord injury, you may not be getting the answers you need. In fact, the medical team may be so busy attending to your loved one’s care that they do not have the time to stop and update you on what is happening.
Like many family members dealing with an injured loved one, you may feel that not knowing anything is worse than knowing the bad news. The truth is that if your loved one suffered a spinal injury, there is a good chance the injury will result in partial or total paralysis. What doctors focus on in those early moments and hours is preventing further damage and ensuring your loved one is stabilized.
What’s going on?
Stabilizing a patient means getting breathing, blood pressure and other vitals into a normal range, which increases the chances of survival and allows doctors to deal with other serious issues. Part of that stabilization likely happened at the scene of the accident when Texas first responders secured your loved one’s spinal column with a cervical neck collar and a backboard before transporting. Once your loved one arrived at the hospital, doctors probably took some or all of the following measures to stabilize your loved one:
- Assisted your loved one’s breathing by inserting a ventilator
- Administered steroids to reduce inflammation that can further damage the delicate nerves in the spinal column
- Placed your loved one under sedation to allow the body to heal
- Administered other medications to treat pain and reduce the chances of infection
- Lowered your loved one’s body temperature through catheters or other methods to reduce cell damage
When doctors had stabilized your loved one, they probably administered numerous tests, such as MRIs, CT scans, X-rays and neurological exams. These help doctors classify the extent of the injuries and provide a clearer picture of the prognosis you and your family are facing. Your loved one may require surgery to deal with any issues related to the injury, such as blood clots, fractures or bone fragments as well as realigning and stabilizing the spine.
As you can see, there is probably a lot going on that you may not understand. However, what is certain is that your life will never be the same. If your loved one’s injury resulted from someone else’s negligence, this may be an especially difficult truth to bear. It will be important that you reach out for help and support from every available resource for assistance with your emotional, practical and legal needs.