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Quadriplegia

Quadriplegia is a loss of the ability to move and/or feel both arms, both legs, and the parts of the body below the area of injury to the spinal cord, which is what causes the condition to occur. In addition to the arms and legs being paralyzed, the abdominal and chest muscles will also be affected resulting in weakened breathing and the inability to properly cough and clear the chest. Quadriplegia is often caused by an injury to the spinal cord, such as those resulting from a motor vehicle accident, gunshot wounds, and falls.

Following emergent and surgical care to stabilize the neck to prevent further injury to the spinal cord the patient has a long road ahead. Following discharge from the hospital most people suffering from quadriplegia will need the services of specialists in the field of orthopedics, pulmonology, infectious disease, urology, podiatry, gastroenterology, cardiology, endocrinology, psychiatry, and nutrition.

Ongoing therapy from physical therapists and occupational therapists is required to maximize function and to prevent contractures. Durable medical equipment is needed. The includes a power wheelchair with reclining back, manual ultra-light wheelchair, sliding board for transfers, bath seat, shower/commode chair, air mattress, adaptive ADL equipment, voice activated telephone system, electric hospital bed, hydraulic lift or East Pivot transfer machine, quad-adaptive home exercise equipment, recumbent bike, as well as other equipment. The home should be modified to allow for wheelchair access to the rooms and the shower. A converted van for transportation is necessary.

The patient will have to undergo repeated diagnostic testing including cardiac scans, ventilation/perfusion scans, bone density scans, chest x-rays, renal scans and renal ultrasounds, urodynamics, cystometrograms, blood chemistries, urinalysis, urine sputum, blood cultures and doppler studies.

Quadriplegia will often require hospitalization for treatment of decubitus ulcers, removal of bladder or renal stones, acute illnesses related to pyelonephritis, bronchopneumonia, severe ostipation, and for treatment for falls, osteoporosis and pathologic fractures.

Twenty-four hour care is mandatory. Depending on the patient’s medical condition the care will usually involve a certified home health attendant or a licensed vocational nurse with regular check-ups by a registered nurse.

The cost of properly caring for a person suffering from quadriplegia is extensive, but the rewards in improving the quality of life and prolonging the life expectancy is well worth the expense.

Cheong, Denove, Rowell & Bennett has the extensive resources to handle the most complex legal matters, yet is small enough to offer individualized service to our clients.

At Cheong, Denove, Rowell & Bennett we believe the more you know, the better choice you will make.