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Interesting Statistics About Spinal Cord Injuries

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

California residents might be surprised to learn that there are about 12,500 new cases of spinal cord injury reported every year in the United States, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center and the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center of American Institutes for Research. It is estimated that about 240,000 to 337,000 people were suffering from these injuries in 2014.

Data shows that Caucasians account for 64 percent of SCIs, and 23 percent of SCI patients are African-American, 10 percent are Hispanic, 2 percent are Asian and 0.5 percent are Native American. The vast majority of SCI patients are males, at 80 percent, and the average age is 42. The leading cause of SCI is motor vehicle crashes, but falls, sports and violent acts are other causes.

The most common neurological complication of SCI is incomplete tetraplegia, and incomplete paraplegia is the second-most common. These are followed by complete paraplegia and tetraplegia. Since 2010, the average acute care unit stay for an SCI has been 11 days, and the average number of days spent in rehabilitation is 36. However, less than 1 percent of SCI patients completely recover from the neurological complications by the time that they are discharged from the hospital.

By one year following the onset of SCI, 12 percent of patients return to work. About 20 years after the injury, around 33 percent are working again. However, about 30 percent of patients return to the hospital one or multiple times during the first 12 months, and they stay for an average of 22 days. The primary cause of rehospitalization is genitourinary system diseases, and the second-most common cause is skin disease. Other causes are circulatory, digestive, musculoskeletal and respiratory diseases.

Individuals who suffer SCI or another type of traumatic back injury could be entitled to compensation if the injury was caused by another party's negligence. A personal injury attorney can be of assistance in determining the types and amount of damages that should be sought in a lawsuit filed against the at-fault party.