How Spinal Cord Injuries Occur at Sea: The Facts You Need to Know

April 1, 2022

Did you know that spinal cord injuries are one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States? Each year, more than 12,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury. Many of these injuries occur at sea. In this blog post, we will discuss how spinal cord injuries happen on vessels, and what you need to do if you or a loved one is injured.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a debilitating condition that can occur when the spinal cord is damaged. The spinal cord is a long, thin bundle of nerves that runs down the middle of the back, from the brain to the lower back. It is responsible for carrying messages between the brain and the rest of the body. SCIs can be caused by a variety of things, including catastrophic falls, maritime accidents, and offshore oil rig explosions. However, one of the most common causes of SCI is diving into shallow water. When someone dives into water that is too shallow, they can hit their head on the bottom, causing their spine to snap. This can result in paralysis, loss of sensation, and even death. While diving accidents are relatively rare, they can be devastating when they occur.

How does Spinal Cord Injuries Happen on Vessels

Spinal cord injuries on vessels most commonly occur due to catastrophic falls, either overboard or from a height on the vessel itself. Additionally, traumatic events such as collisions or explosions can cause severe damage to the spine, leading to paralysis. Maritime workers who suffer spinal cord injuries often require years of rehabilitation and may never fully recover. In some cases, paralysis can lead to death if the individual is unable to breathe properly. For these reasons, it is essential for all maritime workers to be aware of the risks of spinal cord injuries and take steps to prevent them. Wearing life jackets and safety harnesses when working on deck is one of the best ways to protect oneself from serious injury in the event of a fall. Additionally, maintaining a safe working environment and being aware of potential hazards can help reduce the risk of an accident.

What are the Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury

The most common symptom of a spinal cord injury is paralysis, which can occur either in the arms and legs (quadriplegia/tetraplegia) or in the legs only (paraplegia). Other symptoms may include loss of sensation, loss of bowel and bladder control, and sexual dysfunction. In some cases, there may also be respiratory problems. SCIs can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the damage. Treatment typically involves physical therapy and rehabilitation, as well as medication to manage pain and other symptoms. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary.

How is a Spinal Cord Injury Treated

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the treatment of a spinal cord injury will vary depending on the nature and severity of the injury. However, there are some common treatment approaches that can be used to help improve function and quality of life for people with a spinal cord injury. These include:

  • Physical therapy: This can help to improve range of motion, muscle strength, and mobility.
  • Occupational therapy: This can help with activities of daily living, such as grooming, dressing, and cooking.
  • Speech therapy: This can help with communication and swallowing difficulties.
  • Psychological counseling: This can help to address issues such as depression, anxiety, and adjustment to the injury.
  • Assistive devices: These can help people with a spinal cord injury to perform activities of daily living more easily.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct damage or relieve pressure on the spinal cord.

For more information on spinal cord injuries, please visit the United Spinal Association website.

Contact a Top-Rated Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer at Morrow & Sheppard LLP

If you or your loved one suffers a spinal cord injury while on a vessel, it is important to seek legal help right away. An experienced spinal injury lawyer at Morrow & Sheppard LLP can help you file a claim and get the compensation you deserve for injuries and losses.

Get a Free Case Review by Calling Morrow & Sheppard Now.

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