Massachusetts Medical Malpractice – Cervical Spine Injury
The cervical spine is a fragile part of the body. It consists of seven vertebrate in the neck. They are separated by disks, which cushion the vertebrate. The individual cervical vertebrates have a number designated to each one from C1 to C7. The cervical nerves are also numbered from C1 to C8. When a person is a quadriplegic or paraplegic, you often will hear the injury termed as that number i.e. a “C7 injury.” The cervical spine’s purpose is to contain and protect the spinal cord, support the skull and allow for all types of head movement. Trauma to this area often results in full or partial paralysis.
Pain and tingling are symptoms to watch out for with a cervical spine injury. A very severe symptom is numbness, which could mean paralysis is setting in. The nerves could be stretched or hurt, which can cause loss of function in various parts of the body. Each cervical nerve controls both a function and sensation. For example, the C1 and C2 nerves control the head and neck. The C8 nerve controls the hands. With any cervical spine injury, immediate medical attention must be sought out. In many cases, when the injury is treated immediately, it becomes increasingly more serious. In the case of car accidents, a cervical injury could be mild such as whiplash, when the head moves suddenly in one direction and recoils in another, causing the neck to be forced beyond its normal range. The victim may experience painful symptoms such as headaches and pain between the shoulder blades, but whiplash is not life threatening and the victim can heal normally.
Complications arise when the cervical spine snaps. A frightening consequence and one of the rarest of a cervical spine snap is internal decapitation, or when the skull completely separates from the spinal column. There have been survivors of internal decapitation although it is extremely rare to survive such a trauma. Another major complication is when the cervical spine is injured so severely that the victim is paralyzed. Unfortunately, this does happen. The victim will feel a loss of sensation either in the lower body or both the lower and upper body. The result is the inability to use arms, legs or move the torso and perform regular bodily functions normally.
For a lucky survivor of a cervical spine injury, the victim may have whiplash. They must endure pain, sleep disturbances and depression, and whiplash may never go away, but they are able to recover and walk away from the trauma. With paralysis this is not an option. In the case of a quadriplegic, the person must receive round–the–clock care from nurses, either at home or in a rehabilitation facility. A daily routine must be established and committed to every day. In addition, rigorous physical therapy must be undertaken so muscles do not deteriorate due to atrophy. In the worst case scenario, the victim will die from the cervical spine injury.
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