How to Identify and Respond to a Spinal Cord Injury

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biking injuries, personal injuriesAt the scene of an emergency, be it a car accident or the aftermath of an assault, a phrase that first-responders constantly consider is “life over limb.” This phrase is unfortunately often associated with spinal cord injuries; depending on their severity the resulting effects can be temporary or permanent. Considering the dangers presented at the scene of an emergency, “life over limb” may cause permanent damage or paralysis, but may save a life. If a spinal cord injury victim needs to be removed from an unsafe scene, the movement of their spine may make the injury worse, possibly leading to paralyzation.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

The answer may seem obvious, but it runs deeper than just a hurt back. Your spinal cord runs from your waist to the back of your head. It is a length of neurons, that allow proper motor function in your body. Spinal cord injuries or “SCIs” is any type of damage sustained to your vertebral neurons, be it a dislocation or fracture of your vertebrae.

How do I check for a Spinal Cord Injury?

Without an MRI on location it may be hard to know for certain if a victim has sustained a SCI, but if it is even remotely suspected, you should treat the victim as if they have one (better safe than sorry). This means to never move their spine out of the shape or position you’ve found them in. Moving them could cause more damage, but if their life is at risk move them to safety as gently as possible, moving the neck as little as possible. Checking for feeling in the victim’s extremities is a quick and easy way of determining a spinal injury. Assuming that you don’t have traditional medical training, the best thing you can do at the scene is call 9-1-1 and monitor their airway, breathing, and circulation (ABC’s) while emergency medical staff is on their way.

If you or someone you know has suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury, you may be deserving of compensation. Please contact Loewy Law Firm for all of your legal needs pertaining to your serious injury!