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Frank Bailey
Frank Bailey
Contributor •

Spinal Cord Injuries and New Treatments

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Are cars really safer? We have seen so many people with serious spinal cord injuries resulting from head on collisions, I wonder if more can’t be done to make cars safer…

But that is for another day…Today I want to talk about new procedures that can help victims of this type of injury. Each year almost 11,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries that result in paraplegia. The average age ranges from 31 to 40 years old.

Fifty years ago there was little that could be done to treat this type of injury and most injuries were fatal. Today modern medicine has made great strides in treatment of these patients, but we have a long way to go.

Medrol is a treatment option for acute spinal cord injury. This is a corticosteroid. If given within eight hours of injury it works by reducing damage to nerve cells and decreasing inflammation. Another treatment is immobilization by a collar or brace. Sometimes emergency surgery is necessary.

Once the patient is stabilized attention is focused on the problems that accompany this type of injury…blood clots, urinary infection deconditioning, or pressure sores, to mention a few.

The newest innovations are lighter wheelchairs, computer driven tools, and electrical stimulation devices. With the help of these new devices the life of a spinal cord victim is made more bearable.

Doctors have found that recovery, if it occurs, starts between a week and six months. Some progress has even been noted after two years.

The long term effects can be devastating on the victim and the victim’s family. Truly no amount of money can make the victim whole again. That is why we all need to support research on stem cells and its possible effect on these victims. Why does our President block this type of research? Shouldn’t we as a nation do everything we can to help cure these tragic injuries?