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Device may help spinal cord injury patients in West Virginia

Imagine being told that walking would never again be possible. The idea of not having the opportunity to run behind a future grandchild or to simply walk into the grocery store -- something that a person naturally may take for granted in West Virginia -- can be heartbreaking. New technology, however, is turning what might seem like a nightmare to an individual with a spinal cord injury into a dream again.

A spinal cord injury can drastically affect a person's mobility, causing paralysis and confinement to a wheelchair. Nonetheless, a new device called the ReWalk Exoskeleton can enable these individuals to walk around. The patient can even ascend and descend a staircase using his or her own legs during physical therapy sessions.

The machine essentially enables injured individuals to reclaim the ability to walk again. The device allows patients to use muscles they otherwise wouldn't use, and it gives them a boost of confidence. The cost of the device is about $80,000.

People often don't realize how much they rely on their own legs unless they lose the ability to walk as a result of an accident. A spinal cord injury may stem from a vehicle accident or even medical malpractice, in which case a personal injury suit may rightfully be filed against the party considered to have negligently caused the incident. To be victorious in this type of case, liability must be established according to West Virginia's personal injury laws before a civil court will adjudicate specific items of financial damages claimed to have been incurred.

Source: The Post and Courier, New 'Exoskeleton' allows patients with spinal cord injuries to walk again, Lauren Sausser, Feb. 27, 2014

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