Traumatic Injury to the Spinal Cord

Jerry Brown, Jr., a young member of the Dallas Cowboys, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by an intoxicated teammate when the car crashed in early December, killing Brown. The autopsy showed that he died of injury to his neck and bruising of the spinal cord.

Brown’s accident is a stark reminder of the fragility of the spinal cord and the danger that can result from a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord serves as a communication bridge between the brain and the body. When it is damaged, messages between the brain and other parts of the body cannot pass through it, leading to a host of possible problems including paralysis, difficulty with breathing, urination, or digestion, as well as anxiety and depression.

A column of bones called vertebrae surrounds and protects the spinal cord. Nevertheless, the spinal cord, under sufficient impact or pressure, can be crushed, stretched, bruised or severed. In most cases, spinal cord injuries are permanent because damaged nerves cannot be repaired by today’s medical technology.

Car accidents, falls, violence and sport accidents can all cause spinal cord injuries. Although the spinal cord cannot be repaired, proper medical care can protect the spinal cord from additional damage after an accident.

Medical professionals may negligently mishandle a patient with an injured spinal cord and cause further injury. For example, a paramedic might move a patient without protecting the spine, causing additional bruising or even severing of the cord. Or a physician may fail to diagnose a damaged spinal cord, leaving the patient insufficiently braced to restrict movement, leading to greater injury.

A spinal cord injury is debilitating. It could destroy your quality of life, and may place enormous financial pressure on the injured and their family. If you or a loved one have injured your spinal cord, contact us for an evaluation of your case.

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