Monthly Archives: September 2005
The spinal cord injury usually results from fracture of vertebral bones that compress the spinal cord. Continued spinal cord compression increases tissue damage and reduces functional recovery. If the neck or cervical segments are fractured, traction may straighten out and decompress the vertebral column. Chest or thoracic fractures cannot be decompressed by traction. Surgery may be necessary to decompress and stabilize the spinal cord.
In 1990, the American Spinal Cord Injury Association (ASIA) proposed a uniform classification system that had five categories, defined in Table 1. Motor level is defined as the level at which the key muscle innervated by the segment has at least 3/5 of its normal strength.
Studies suggest the incidence rate of SCI is about 40 cases per million population, excluding those who die at the scene of the accident. Given a current United States population of approximately 281.4 million persons, this means that over 11,000 new cases occur each year.
The Daily ARTA E-News bulletin reports that Carnival Cruise lines will provide assistance in relief efforts for hurricane Katrina. FEMA has contracted to dock the ships Ecstatsy and Sensation in Galveston and the Holiday in Mobile. USA Today reports that the goal is to use them to house up to 7,000 refugees (survivors)
The International Herald Tribune reports that the ships will be used mainly for the elderly, the disabled and those with medial needs. Limited information is available on cabin accessibility for refugees with mobility impairments.
People with disabilities in the Gulf Coast areas of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are experiencing tremendous loss of life and devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Current data indicates that people with disabilities are now most at risk in this situation—and will need recovery assistance for months or years. A disproportionate number of the Hurricane survivors are people with disabilities whose needs for basic necessities are compounded by chronic health conditions and Functional impairments.
More than 240,000 Americans, including 44,000 veterans, currently suffer from a spinal cord injury (SCI). Eleven thousand more sustain these injuries every year. The Department of Veterans Affairs promotes National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month as a means to educate the public, aid those living with SCI, and support medical research in the SCI field.
VA has the single largest network of spinal cord injury care in the nation, with 23 specialized SCI centers and 135 SCI primary care teams or SCI support clinics at non-SCI VA medical centers.