How much does a spinal cord injury cost to treat?

If you, or someone you love, have suffered a spinal cord injury, you may wonder how life goes on from here. While it may seem as though there is little hope ahead, the truth is that medical science is making progress every day. There are new medical treatments, physical therapies and medical devices available that are changing the way a body adapts to a spinal cord injury.

Unfortunately, many of those kinds of care and treatments are very expensive. In fact, spinal cord injuries and the extended care that is needed can reach the maximum payouts by insurance. For those who don’t have insurance, some care may not even be accessible.

According to an article posted in Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation in June 2011, the cost for medical care and related expenses for someone who suffered a C1-C4 spinal cord injury is more than $1 million. That number has been adjusted to 2013 estimated totals. However, the total lifetime expenses for someone who was injured at the age of 25 and lived to be 50 years old is more than $4.6 million. That number, while astronomical, doesn’t take into account the lost wages, fringe benefits and productivity that a spinal cord injury victim may lose as well.

But it’s not just the cost of medical treatment that is overwhelming when looking at these types of statistics. Someone who has suffered a C1-C4 spinal cord injury at age 20 and is not on a ventilator has an average life expectancy of 36.6 years. Pneumonia and sceptocemia are the most common causes of death today for someone with this injury.

Motor vehicle accidents top the list of causes for spinal cord injuries since 2010, with 36.5 percent. Falls, violence, other/unknown and sports round out the top five causes of spinal cord injuries.

Those who have suffered a spinal cord injury through no fault of their own may want to consider where the money will come from for continued treatment. Many may be able to seek compensation from the person responsible for the injury and related costs to help cover their medical needs.

Source: National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, “Spinal Cord Injury Facts and Figures at a Glance” Jul. 27, 2014