Research Shows Uptick in Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries
Individuals over 65 may be at particular risk for traumatic spinal cord injuries
According to new research from Johns Hopkins, serious traumatic spinal cord injuries are occurring more frequently in the US. The study analyzed 43,137 traumatic spinal cord injury cases from across the country. The patients were all treated between 2007 and 2009. The injuries all required emergency room treatment, though the severity of the injuries ranged from temporary bruising of the spinal cord resulting in temporary numbness, to permanent damage or severing of the spinal cord resulting in paralysis. From this data, researchers were able to extract several important facts about spinal cord injury rates.
Slip & Falls Now the Leading Cause
Auto accidents have long been assumed to be the leading cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries. However, in the group studied, falls were responsible for the injuries in 41.5 percent of cases while car accidents were responsible in 35.5 percent of the cases. Researchers believe that there are two possible reasons for these statistics. First, vehicle safety has been improving greatly, giving motorists a better chance of walking away from a serious accident with only minor injuries. Secondly, the aging of the baby boomers has made our nation trend older, and older people seem more prone to falls.
Seniors are Most at Risk
The data used in the study did indeed confirm that older people are at higher risk for suffering a traumatic spinal cord injury. The incidence of spinal cord injuries in individuals 65 and over increased from 79.4 per million in 2007 to 87.7 per million in 2009. Furthermore, seniors were also found at increased risk of dying from their injuries, being four times as likely to die in the emergency room and six times as likely to die during their hospital stay than younger patients, even after differences in injury severity and overall health were accounted for.
Lifetime Cost of Care Also Increasing
Another trend identified by the Johns Hopkins study is the rising cost of care for spinal cord injuries. During the study period, spinal cord injuries generated a total of $1.6 billion in emergency room costs, not to mention the high costs of inpatient and lifelong care. The average serious spinal cord injury can cost an individual patient anywhere from $1 to $5 million in lifetime care, depending on their age at the time of the accident and the severity of the injury.
Get Compensation after a Spinal Cord Injury
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, it is very important to secure full and complete compensation from the responsible party that can cover your lifelong expenses. Contact an expert spinal cord injury attorney like Fernando D. Vargas for help now.