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Spinal cord injuries and the risk of sepsis

A spouse or child's spinal cord injury has changed his or her life, but your life may never be the same either. Whether you are still in the early stages of diagnosis and prognosis or the reality has already set in, there is a challenging road ahead. The greatest challenge may be keeping spirits up for you and your family.

However, you must also be realistic. While astounding advances are occurring in the field of research for spinal cord injury victims, if doctors have told you that your spouse or child's paralysis is likely permanent, you have a lot to prepare for to ensure your loved one remains as healthy as possible. Part of this includes remaining alert to signs of infection that may turn septic.

Infections can be fatal

Infections are a common secondary issue with victims of spinal cord injuries. Your loved one may develop an infection from a pressure ulcer from sitting or lying in one position for too long. Pneumonia is also a risk if your loved one's injury prevents him or her from coughing or exhaling to force the fluids from the lungs. The use of a catheter increases the chances of urinary tract infections. Any of these infections or others can quickly turn septic if you don't notice the symptoms in time.

Sepsis occurs when the body's defenses overproduce toxins to fight off the infection and instead begin to fight the body's own systems. This may result in tissue damage and organ failure, which can quickly turn deadly. You and your loved one's medical team will have to remain vigilant for signs of infection, such as:

  • High temperature
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Swelling or inflammation at the site of the infection

Painful as it is to see your loved one in this condition following a spinal cord injury, you want to make sure he or she obtains the highest quality medical care possible for the best chances of regaining whatever mobility and independence are feasible.

Hope for the future

Your hopes and dreams for the future with your spouse or child may have disappeared in a split second, and you feel the unfairness of this most keenly if the accident occurred as a result of a distracted, impaired or reckless driver. You have the right to seek justice for your loved one by reaching out to a Florida legal professional who can advise you on the steps you and your loved one can take to pursue compensation through the civil courts.

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