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Spinal cord injury patients experience adverse events in hospital

Spinal cord injuries can be difficult to cope with because of their life-changing impacts on the body. People with spinal cord injury in West Virginia may experience pain, sensory changes, numbness and even weakness or paralysis. Recent research shows that a higher number of spinal cord injury patients than recently thought ended up developing an adverse event, AE, while being cared for in the hospital.

The study included more than 170 patients with injuries to the spinal cord. Of the patients examined, more than 77 percent experienced an AE. A small percentage of these experienced what is called an intraoperative AE, which includes complications with ventilation/airway as well as dural tears.

Most of the 77 percent experienced a postoperative or preoperative AE. These include urinary tract infections, pneumonia and even delirium. Decubitis ulcers, more commonly known as pressure sores, are also considered AEs. The length of a person's stay in the hospital was particularly found to increase the presence of urinary tract infections as well as pressure sores.

Spinal cord injury can result from an accident such as a vehicle crash or a fall on dangerous property. If it occurs because another driver was careless or the owner of the dangerous property where the fall occurred was negligent in keeping up the property, the other party may be held financially responsible for the victim's injuries. It is necessary for liability to be established according to the strict standards of the civil court in West Virginia before financial damage claims will be determined.

Source: healio.com, "Majority of patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries develop adverse events during acute care", JT Street, June 29, 2015

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