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What is the spinal cord injury grading scale?

Anyone in West Virginia who knows someone that has a spinal cord injury probably understands how complex and difficult these injuries can be for victims and their families. The spinal cord is critical to all human functions, and any kind of injury to it is a serious matter. However, some spinal cord injuries are more severe than others.

The International Spinal Cord Society, along with the American Spinal Cord Injury Association, have developed a ratings system to classify the severity of spinal cord injuries. The system, which is known as the ASIA/ISCoS Exam Chart, or ASIA Impairment Scale, grades five different levels of spinal cord injuries.

The injury grading system is best performed within 72 hours of the injury, and the grade level corresponds to the injured person's motor function and the level of sensation that the person can feel. A Grade E injury, for example, means that all of the person's neurologic function returned. At the other end of the spectrum, a Grade A injury means that the injured person has no motor or sensory function below the point of the injury to the spinal cord.

Regardless of where on the grading scale that a person's spinal cord injury falls, the injured person will likely have to go through a litany of medical tests and treatment. When the injury resulted from someone else's negligence, the injured victim may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties.

Whether the spinal cord injury results in permanent disability or a complete recovery, the injured person can rack up enormous medical expenses along the way. The injured person should not have to bear these costs if someone else caused the injury.

The ASIA/ISCoS Exam Chart puts varying degrees of spinal cord injury into easy to understand and distinctive categories. However, even the least severe spinal cord injury is rarely a simple thing.

Source: Shepherd Center, "Understanding Spinal Cord Injury," Accessed Oct. 17, 2015

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