Pediatric Vertebral Dislocation Can Occur in an Auto Accident

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I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. The spinal cord is one of the most important structures in the body because it provides power to the motor and sensory function of the arms and legs at every level. The spinal cord is protected by vertebrae along the way; however, if these vertebrae are dislocated, the spinal cord can be placed at risk. A recent case report demonstrated that this can happen to children if they are involved in a car accident.
What is the Role of the Spinal Cord?

The spinal cord is a vital structure for both motor and sensory function. It runs from the brain all the way down to the tailbone, with important nerves both leaving and entering the cord at every level. Along the way, the spinal cord is protected by various bony structures called vertebrae. These bones cover the vulnerable nerves that make up the spinal cord to prevent people from losing motor and sensory function due to trauma. Symptoms of spinal cord damage can vary depending on the severity of the traumatic injury; however, symptoms could include:

Loss of Motor Function: Damage to the spinal cord can make it difficult for someone to move their arms and legs depending on the location of the injury. In some cases, people could lose the ability to move one or more limbs completely.

Loss of Sensory Function: Individuals might lose the ability to sense touch, pressure, or temperature on certain parts of their body depending on the region of the spinal cord that has been compromised.

Loss of Bowel or Bladder Control: Damage to certain regions of the spinal cord can lead to incontinence as well, leading to a serious impact on the person's quality of life.

There are many ways that the spinal cord can be damaged, including bone fractures to the vertebrae or dislocations along the cord. A recent case report demonstrated that this is a major risk to children who are involved in car accidents. If you or your loved one suffered an injury in a car accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sacramento to assist you in recovering compensation for your injuries.

A Case Report: Serious Damage in an Auto Accident

A team of medical professionals recently published a case report discussing a child who suffered a vertebral dislocation in an auto accident. Her parents were driving a motor vehicle down the highway when they were forced to take evasive action due to traffic conditions ahead of them. They abruptly swerved their vehicle and collided with a concrete median. Their child, who was seated in a car seat at the time, suffered significant trauma during the accident and was unconscious when the emergency personnel arrived. When she awoke, she was only able to move her left arm. Her right arm and both legs were immobile. She was quickly transported to the hospital where it was discovered that she had suffered vertebral dislocation at the C5 level. Because of the movement of the vertebra with the cord inside, the child had suffered significant spinal cord damage. It was likely that the nerves that powered her limbs were compressed and damaged when the vertebra moved as a result of the accident. Her prognosis did not appear positive; however, she was taken the operating room for repair of the dislocation.

Discussion: Early Intervention and Surgery is Key

The patient was transported to the operating room so that the vertebral dislocation could be repaired. Neurosurgeons were able to place the vertebra back in the proper anatomic location. The patient recovered from the surgical procedure and was sent home after a routine hospital stay. When she returned to the surgical clinic for a follow-up visit, it was discovered that she had regained movement in all of her limbs. While the recovery was still early, she was able to coordinate movements and lift objects of varying weights effectively. She was also able to support herself on her legs. This case demonstrates that in cases of vertebral dislocations, early operative repair is important for ensuring that patients had a positive prognosis in the future. The earlier this injury can be repaired, the better the prognosis will be for the patient and their family.

A Legal Provider can be Useful

When a child has suffered damage to his or her spinal cord, there are numerous issues that could arise. This is often a chronic injury that has several different implications for the future of the family. These include:

Chronic Medical Care: Because many patients with spinal cord damage have chronic medical problems, it could be challenging to get these various bills covered by insurance companies. In these situations, an injury lawyer can be useful to explain the situation and obtain insurance coverage.

Time Off Work: Many parents of children with spinal cord damage would like to take time off of work to help care for their child. If the employer denies this time off, a personal injury attorney can advise you on your rights.

Issues of Negligence: If a loved one has suffered traumatic injuries as a result of the negligence of someone else, they should be held responsible for your damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer in Sacramento can begin the process so you can focus on getting well.

Anyone with questions or concerns should speak to a caring, compassionate Sacramento personal injury attorney today to learn about available options.


Ed Smith, Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney


Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. Suffering a traumatic injury can present unexpected physical, psychological, and financial consequences. If you've been injured in an accident, call me for free, friendly, and compassionate legal advice at 916.921.6400.

I am featured in the California chapter of the Million Dollar Forum. We are a fraternity of injury lawyers who have reached settlements and earned verdicts worth more than $1 Million dollars.

I would like all of my visitors to take a few minutes to read through my verdicts and settlements here.

Past clients have taken the time to write summaries that are on Avvo, Yelp, and Google.

Image Attribution: The image was recycled under the Creative Commons Share-Alike License, version 3.0. The x-ray was found originally on Wikimedia Commons.

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