Life after the spinal cord injury
June 26, 2018, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
Cycling on the roads and highways of Canada is a dangerous business. A 2012 Ontario Coroner’s Report on cycling deaths reported that of the 129 deaths between 2006 and 2010 of cyclists on the roads all of them, 100% were preventable.
- In 87% of the cases all conditions (weather, visibility etc.) were good.
- 53% were in broad daylight.
- 66% involved partial cyclist blame (ignoring signs, entering curb lane too quickly after being on the sidewalk, or riding against traffic).
- The vast majority of the accidents involved vehicle driver blame, with speeding and distracted driving playing a big role.
- In almost 50% of the cases that involved a car the blame was laid on both the drivers and the cyclist.
Many people are injured every year in car accidents but survive with minor and major injuries. Apinal cord injury is common as is brain injury. People with brain injury and spinal cord injuries are much more likely to suffer from depression and to attempt suicide than the general population as well.
One inspiring example is that of Dr. Daniel Grossman, an Emergency Room physician in Rochester, Minnesota. He was out mountain biking with a friend and at the end of a long day they decided to take a final run. He doesn’t recall the accident. He does remember starting down the hill behind his friend.
He then remembers waking up with people around him. He recalls a strange sensation in his abdomen, that he couldn’t feel his legs, and that everyone around was panicking. He spent over four months in hospitals recovering from his accident, and learning how to live his new life confined to a wheelchair. It took months to learn to transfer himself in and out of his chair from the floor, from bed and to and from the toilet. He is keenly aware of the dangers of a fall for anyone with spinal cord injury. If you can’t feel the body parts then it’s very hard to tell if you’ve injured it in a fall.
He returned to medicine and lives independently. He had his home renovated to accommodate his new needs and uses technology to do daily things for him. From Alexa turning on the lights to using online grocery delivery services, he has made his life easier. One thing he has been open about is the issue of bathroom breaks. He carries extra pants. He explains that it’s hard to know that you need to use the bathroom when you can’t feel your lower body. He times toilet breaks according to what he east/drinks and when.
He is also open about the fact that he has to rely on his friends and family, even strangers, to help him much more than before the accident. As he says about many things in his new life:
"These YouTube guys make it look like the simplest thing in the world," he says. "What I've learned through all this is life is one big experiment and you just have to figure out what works for you."
It’s good to hear more people with spinal cord injury speak candidly about the challenges they face in daily living. It goes a long way to removing stigma and apprehension from those around them. You can read the full story about Dr. Grossman and watch a video here.
|Posted under Accident Benefit News, Bicycle Accidents, Paraplegia, Spinal Cord Injury
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About Deutschmann Law
Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.
It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.