Victims of serious accidents like vehicle crashes and slip and falls can face many challenges if they suffer a spinal cord injury and some form of paralysis. They must cope with the trauma of losing use of one or more limbs and learn how to function in their day-to-day lives. The paralysis is only part of their daily battle. Many people with paralysis must also manage a number of serious secondary conditions.
Tips on Handling 5 Secondary Complications From Paralysis
A secondary condition can be a physical, mental, social, emotional, family, or community problem a person with paralysis could face. Some of these can include:
- Bladder control. If the person has lost his bladder control, he will have to use a catheter—a tube that attaches to a bag—that would need to be inserted on a regular basis by the person or his caregiver. Emptying the bladder regularly and monitoring for infections can help prevent some urinary infections.
- Bowel function. A person could experience lack of bowel control or constipation. A high fiber diet and medication may help a person regulate his bowels. A rehabilitation specialist can advise a person with this type of problem.
- Pressure sores. Pressure sores are caused when the skin breaks down if the person is in the same position for long periods of time. If left untreated, they can become infected. A person needs to change position—even frequently during the night—with the help of a caregiver if necessary and be vigilant in taking care of his skin to help prevent pressure sores from developing. Special beds, mattresses, mattress overlays, and cushions for chairs can also help with this problem.
- Blood clots. When a person is stationary for long periods of time, he is more at risk of developing blood clots—some potentially fatal. A person may be given blood thinner medication and he may need special support stockings or to use inflatable pumps on his legs to increase circulation.
- Depression. Many people who suffer with paralysis after a serious accident also develop depression. It can be caused by the challenges of coping with the disability or some of the life changes that can come with paralysis, such as not being able to work, divorce, and financial problems. Professional counseling, joining a support group, and taking medication, such as antidepressants, can help a person deal with depression.
Handling these secondary conditions associated with paralysis can be costly, but obtaining the help you need is critical to your recovery if you were paralyzed in a serious accident. Fortunately, you may be entitled to compensation for these expenses and more from the person or business that caused your paralysis.
If you or a family member suffered a spinal injury in a serious accident, fill out our online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.