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Spinal cord injuries are extremely costly

Each year, the medical community in West Virginia, and in every other part of the country, makes advancements in all kinds of different areas of medicine that ultimately help people with their health. From finding new treatments for diseases, to deploying better software for keeping personal medical records, almost everyone in the medical field strives to find ways to make life better for other people.

When it comes to innovative treatments, spinal cord injuries are no different than any other medical condition. Doctors and researchers devote tremendous resources into finding better ways to handle these injuries. This is especially important because according to a study by Johns Hopkins University, the number of spinal cord injuries is increasing throughout the country.

The top two leading causes of spinal cord injuries are motor vehicle accidents and falls. The research from Johns Hopkins sampled more than 43,000 adults who were treated for spinal cord injuries between 2007 and 2009. The data shows that the average age of adults with a traumatic spinal cord injury is 51. This marks a significant change from a prior study between the years 2000 and 2005, which showed an average age of 41 for spinal cord injury patients.

While the average age of spinal cord injury victims might be changing, what has not changed is the enormous costs of dealing with such an injury. Data shows that between 2007 and 2009, spinal cord injury patients racked up $1.6 billion in emergency room costs. But, this is just the tip of the iceberg, because many spinal cord injuries result in permanent disability, which require long-term medical care. Moreover, because treatments are improving, patients are living longer, which means even more medical expenses.

A spinal cord injury can be a devastating blow to victims and their families. But now, more than ever, the health outlook for these patients is improving. On the other hand, the expenses that go along with such a difficult injury continue to rise.

Source: Science Daily, "Traumatic spinal cord injuries on the rise in U.S.," Accessed on Sept. 11, 2014

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