Representing Accident Victims Who Suffer Quadriplegia

The most traumatic and terrible consequence of a serious injury involves paralysis. Quadriplegia, also known as "tetraplegia," is a condition in which a person loses motor control over both the arms and the legs. Often, the ability to feel touch sensations in these areas is lost as well. The paralysis may also affect areas of the torso. Quadriplegia is so named because it affects all four limbs — unlike paraplegia, which affects only the legs, or hemiplegia, which affects the arm and leg on only one side of the body. Regardless of the level of paralysis, however, such conditions can change a victim's entire way of life and create severe emotional and psychological hardships. What makes matters worse is when the injury-causing accident could have been prevented.

If you or someone you love has suffered quadriplegia in an accident, the attorneys at Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst are here to help you.

What Causes Quadriplegia?

The most common cause of quadriplegia is a spinal cord injury in the area of the cervical spine. The cervical spine consists of the topmost seven vertebrae in the spinal column, beginning just below the base of the skull and ending at roughly the base of the neck. The vertebrae are typically numbered from top to bottom and referred to as C-1 through C-7. Thus, it's not unusual for people with quadriplegia or their doctors to explain that their condition was caused by an injury at "C-5," for instance, indicating the location on the cervical spine that was hurt.

The location and severity of the spinal cord injury determines the location and severity of quadriplegia caused by the injury. People with quadriplegia who suffered injuries at C-4 may not be able to control any muscles below the neck, and some with severe injuries cannot even control the neck muscles, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Patients who suffer injuries at C-3 or above typically suffer paralysis not only in their limbs, but their lungs, and they may require the help of a ventilator in order to breathe.

Consequences Of Quadriplegia

Since a spinal cord injury may affect all functions below the injury site, persons with quadriplegia may have other medical conditions that need care as well. Common conditions that accompany quadriplegia include:

  • Loss of bladder and bowel control. The nerve damage that accompanies a spinal cord injury can cause a person to no longer be able to control bladder and bowel movements, because the brain cannot communicate with these organs any longer.
  • Bedsores. A person who stays in one position in bed for a long time may develop bedsores, also known as "pressure sores" if someone does not help the person move periodically. Bedsores can cause infections and other serious harm if not treated.
  • Blood clots. When the limbs are not moved, blood circulation slows down, increasing the risk for clots. A clot that breaks free may travel to the brain, lungs, or heart, causing a fatal reaction.
  • Autonomic dysreflexia. This condition is specific to patients with paralysis, because it results from the body being unable to signal the brain that something is wrong. Instead, the body will signal a problem by causing a spike in blood pressure along with a drop in heart rate, which can cause serious complications. Identifying and fixing the problem that is causing the body's reaction can stop episodes of autonomic dysreflexia.

Dedicated To Protecting Your Rights

Quadriplegia often requires lifelong care and extensive work to accommodate your life to your condition. Such a dramatic alteration of your life can create undeserved burdens and undue obstacles that can keep you from regaining control of your life. You do have legal support, however.

If you've suffered quadriplegia or paralysis due to an accident caused by another's negligence, you're not alone. The lawyers at Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst in Oklahoma City can help you obtain maximum compensation in order to give you the means to get the treatment and care you need while continuing to provide for yourself and your family. To determine whether legal action is the right choice for you, contact us today for a consultation. Call us toll free anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-539-0652.