Healthcare Concerns

Impacts of Spinal Cord Injuries

The study of a type of roundworm – C. elegans – is providing researchers with a platform to investigate how to fast-track the regeneration of central nervous system brain cells that can serve as a cure for people suffering from spinal cord injuries and paralysis.

In a study which was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on April 26, 2016, Boston University School of Medicine researcher and lead author Christopher Gabel PhD, said, “We describe a new type of neuron regeneration in C. elegans that is independent of previously discovered regeneration pathways.”

Gabel, who is the assistant professor of physiology and biophysics at BUSM added, “At the end of development, neurons in the adult human CNS, such as the brain and spinal cord, lose their ability to effectively regenerate in response to injury. But, when two lesions are made to the same neuron, remarkably, some cells in the human CNS robustly regenerate – a phenomenon known as lesion conditioning and which was strikingly similar to what we saw in our elements with C. elegans.”

The website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP says that when a person has incurred a spinal cord injury, he should expect that every aspect of his life would be affected by this phenomenon. For instance, if one gets injured at the lowest part of the spinal cord – which is referred to as the neurological level of the spine – a person experience either complete paralysis (loss of all sensory and motor functions below the spinal cord injury) or incomplete paralysis (loss but not total loss of sensory and motor functions below the affected area in the sense that some feelings and some motor functions can still be felt and exercised, respectively).

Among the most common impacts of a spinal cord injury include loss of movement, sensation which includes the ability to feel cold and heat, and bowel or bladder control; pain or an intense stinging sensation due to the damage incurred by the spinal cord; and difficulty in breathing and in expelling secretions from one’s lungs.

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Common and Persistant Medical Dangers

There is no injury more personal than that of medical malpractice. Because a majority of people place their whole trust in the ability of doctors, hospitals, and all aspects of the healthcare industry to protect them from bodily harm, sustaining serious injury or death because of negligence undermines not only physical health but emotional security as well. Moreover, medical malpractice often involves close contact with one’s person, and the potential harm this poses can be extreme indeed.

Medical dangers take many forms. While medical malpractice perhaps excites the most horror, trauma and incredulity, one can also suffer grievous harm from drugs and medical devices. This can due to the lack of proper testing, improper marketing for off-label use, or simply defects in its manufacture or design. Many breakthrough drugs or devices that had early promise have led to health problems and complications which the manufacturers knew or should have known about, but failed to warn physicians and the public. This was done mostly to protect what most medical drug and device companies are most concerned with: profit. It’s as textbook as a “profits over people” mentality can be. These companies make so much money, that even if they are forced to shell out tens of millions of dollars to injured patients, they’re still sitting on hundreds of millions.

A good example would be the personal injury practice which galvanized the orthopedic community in 2012 and led to a rush of civil litigation against the manufacturer Stryker Orthopedics. Among other complications, those implanted with the Rejuvenate and ABG II product lines developed metallosis, a condition where elevated levels of heavy metals in the blood and tissue has a toxic effect. It was not the first time that Stryker had been cited for marketing defective products.

Some patients who only want to get curative or palliative care find themselves worse off because of the medical dangers that lurk unsuspected in healthcare. However, they need not remain victims. Engaging the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer will at the very least provide some compensation to cover medical expenses and for the pain and suffering, and hopefully provide motivation for these members of the healthcare industry to try harder to do better.

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