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Spinal Cord Injuries in Slip and Fall Accidents: Frail Victims Have Higher Risk of Complications

Spinal cord injuries can be devastating and have life long implications.   A traumatic spinal cord injury is difficult to recover from for most all individuals. However, frail victims of spinal cord injuries may have a much higher risk of adverse effects and complications than healthy individuals.  These complications can include greater occurrence of hospitalizations and death after the injury.

According to the results of a new study that was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, frail victims of a spinal injury are at a higher risk of possibly life -threatening complications after the injury. The researchers identified spinal cord injury victims from between 2004 and 2016. The average median age of the patients was 50.3 years. Out of a total of 643 patients that were studied as part of the research, 77 percent were male. Falls were the leading cause of spinal injuries, with more than 60 percent of the patients, having suffered a spinal injury as the result of a slip and fall accident.

The researchers found that in patients below the age of 60 years, a person’s frail condition was a fairly reliable predictor of the number of adverse events, in-hospital mortality as well as length of hospital stay. In patients that were between 61 and 75 years of age, the frailty index also predicted the number of adverse events, length of hospital stay as well as in- hospital mortality. However, in patients above the age of 75, frailty did not predict any outcomes.

According to the published results, this is one of the first times that frailty is being identified as a predictor of adverse events after a spinal injury. Generally, these injuries tend to occur in younger males with car and motorcycle accidents being common causes of spinal injuries in this demographic.

However, spinal cord injury rates among baby boomers have been increasing. The major cause of spinal injuries in this demographic is fall accidents, whether at home or on someone else’s property.

Elderly patients oftentimes present more challenges for doctors. Earlier studies have indicated that there is a higher risk associated with surgeries after a spinal injury among older patients than their younger counterparts. The researchers believe that an assessment of the patient’s frailty could help with better decision- making during treatment, and possibly lead to better outcomes for the patient.

Spinal injuries can result in severe health complications for all patients, regardless of their age.  These are catastrophic injures that can have major implications for the victim’s ability to lead a productive and fulfilling life. A person’s ability to work may be severely restricted. There may be sexual dysfunction, failure to control bowel and bladder movements and other effects that drastically limit the quality of the person’s life.  The injuries usually impact the victim’s family negatively as well.

Some of the effects or long term implications of a spinal cord injury may not be evident soon after, or even weeks after, the injury. It’s important to speak with an attorney before you begin filing a claim for damages after a spinal injury because you will need to include all the possible expenses that can be expected and all the losses that you will endure not just immediately, but in the long term as well.

If your loved one has suffered a spinal injury in a fall accident, talk to an Atlanta accident attorney at the Katz Law Firm and discuss your claim.