Paralysis Can Lead to Life-Threatening Complications

Paralysis Can Lead to Life-Threatening ComplicationsParalysis can be, and is often, the result of someone else’s negligence. On its own, paralysis is a difficult condition to acclimate into your everyday life, and when it can cause further medical issues that put your life into danger, your suffering needs to be taken seriously.

Paralysis has the potential to impact additional bodily functions, including those related to breathing and heart rate. Additionally, the condition may extend its effects to other systems within the affected area of the body. While not all complications of paralysis may be life-threatening, there are several that can prove deadly.

Life-threatening complications that can arise from paralysis, as per the Cleveland Clinic, include:

  • Pneumonia. As certain types of paralysis can cause breathing and swallowing problems, it can lead to pneumonia. The American Lung Association defines pneumonia as “an infection in one or both of your lungs, causing inflammation and fluid build-up. It may cause problems with oxygen exchange.” Pneumonia causes more than 50,000 deaths each year.
  • Blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Research indicates that within three to twelve months post-SCI, up to 12% of individuals remain susceptible to risks. Notably, those with quadriplegia face a higher risk compared to individuals with paraplegia. In cases where DVT goes untreated, and a blood clot dislodges, it may journey to the lungs, triggering a serious and potentially fatal condition known as pulmonary embolism (PE).
  • Heart problems including extremely high or low blood pressure. According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, cardiovascular problems can manifest at the onset of trauma-induced paralysis, while paralysis resulting from disease can lead to cardiovascular issues at any stage of the disease. Early cardiac concerns encompass irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), slow heartbeat (bradycardia), and the potential for cardiac arrest due to disrupted nerve communication. Ongoing issues include orthostatic hypotension (OH) (a type of low blood pressure that occurs when standing up after sitting or lying down), DVT and PE, and autonomic dysreflexia (AD) (serious condition where your body’s automatic responses go haywire in response to pain), impacting blood pressure control.
  • Sepsis. Sepsis is a blood infection, and those with paralysis can suffer from sepsis, as common ailments that come along with paralysis (bed sores, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia) can lead to sepsis. The Sepsis Alliance states that: “Worldwide, one-third of people who develop sepsis die. Many who do survive are left with life-changing effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain and fatigue, organ dysfunction (organs don’t work properly), and/or amputations.”
  • Depression and anxiety. Mental health is as important as physical health, and complications to your mental health can be just as life-threatening. Those who end up suffering from paralysis often find a loss of quality of life. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation reports that “depression is common among people who are paralyzed. While about 10 percent of the U.S. non-disabled population is said to be moderately or severely depressed, research shows that about 20 to 30 percent of people with long-term disabilities are living with depression.” Depression can be deadly, sometimes leading to suicide.

What type of accidents and injuries can cause paralysis?

Often, it is serious accidents that can leave the victim paralyzed, but paralysis can happen in many different types of accidents of differing levels of severity. The causes of paralysis include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI). Severe blows to the head can lead to TBIs, affecting the brain’s ability to send signals to the rest of the body.
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI). Injuries to the spinal cord are a common cause of paralysis. Paralysis in SCIs usually affects the part of the body below the site of the injury.
  • Traffic accidents. High-impact car or truck collisions often result in SCIs and TBIs, with truck accidents usually causing more severe injuries due to its size and weight.
  • Falls. Falling from a high area or slipping and falling on a poorly maintained property can cause SCIs or head trauma, potentially resulting in paralysis.
  • Sports injuries. High-impact sports, such as football, can lead to spinal cord or head injuries, causing paralysis.
  • Medical malpractice. Surgical errors or complications during medical procedures can result in nerve damage or other issues that may lead to paralysis.
  • Birth injuries. During childbirth, complications can arise that may lead to nerve damage or other injuries, resulting in conditions like cerebral palsy.

Paralysis is a challenging condition to have to handle in your day-to-day life. With possible complications on top of this already difficult condition, it is clear that if your paralysis (and the related complications) were caused by someone’s negligence, then you more than deserve rightful compensation.

At Merkel & Cocke, P.A., our dedicated team of compassionate Mississippi injury lawyers knows how incredibly life-changing paralysis can be. Your life is flipped on its head, and it can feel overwhelming. When complications come along with your paralysis, putting your life in further danger, it is only right that you receive just restitution from the parties liable for the accident that led to your condition. If this is the case for you, call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville, and Oxford.