Patient one was injured in a dirt bike accident in 2014. It resulted in complete paralysis from the waist down. He was implanted with the scaffolding and has since regained some motor functions. Patient two was injured in a motorcycle accident. She has regained some sensory function but no motor function. Patient three fell from a hunting platform and was paralyzed from his chest down. He has since regained feeling in his legs and some bladder control.
Spinal injuries are catastrophic to the person injured, but also to their partners, parents, children. The Public Health Agency of Canada tried to estimate the cost over a lifetime for caring for severely injured people. It estimated that for those who still have functioning arms, the cost would amount to about $1.5 million. Those who developed quadriplegia would cost the health system approximately $3 million. With Canada’s relatively small population of around 35 million, the annual costs work out to about $2.67 billion each year.
As well as the personal suffering and social costs, there are costs to society in loss of productivity. And if family is caring for the person, their loss in productivity.
When people are paralyzed from the chest down, they often lose their control of bowels and bladder. Sexual functioning is also impaired. Severe spinal cord injuries often result in a shortened life span as well.
In Vivo Therapeutics
Public Health Agency of Canada
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