When the shock and grief of suffering a spinal cord injury begin to wear off, your next concern will be paying for the treatment you will need to recover whatever mobility and strength you can. This is likely to be ongoing, perhaps for the rest of your life, so you can expect it will be quite expensive. The last thing you want to do is to accept a quick settlement from an insurer before you fully understand what your future holds.
One thing to consider when calculating any future medical care is the potential for secondary conditions related to your injury and resulting paralysis. Spinal cord injuries affect many systems in your body, leaving you vulnerable to infections. Treating infections quickly and aggressively is critical to avoid the rapid spread of sepsis.
Be alert for signs of infection
In some cases, an infection can cause a violent reaction called sepsis in your body's own defense system. The defenses become so hostile that they begin attacking the body's own tissues and organs. This can cause you to go into shock, lead to organ failure and result in coma and death if your medical team does not catch it in time.
Because of your paralysis, you may be more susceptible to certain infections, such as pressure ulcers, pneumonia or bladder infections. It is critical that you and those close to you watch for these symptoms:
- Your temperature goes above 101 degrees or drops below 97.
- You begin breathing rapidly.
- Your heart rate increases.
- You seem confused.
- Your family notices swelling in your hands, feet or face.
Sepsis can spread quickly. In a matter of hours, you may experience a rapid deterioration as your body fails to send oxygen to various organs. Without quick action, you may suffer irreversible injury.
Paying for your medical treatment
Doctors will perform a series of tests to locate the infection. You are no stranger to diagnostic tests. Since the accident that resulted in your spinal cord injury, you have probably endured countless tests and screenings. Once doctors confirm the diagnosis of sepsis, they will take aggressive action to treat the infection and stop its spread.
Tests, treatments, prescriptions, hospital stays and other factors are likely to be part of your life you cannot escape. It is important that these interruptions do not become setbacks to your hard work of building a happy and productive life since your injury. Your California attorney can assist you in including the treatment for such secondary conditions in any legal battle for the compensation you deserve if your injury resulted from someone else's negligence.