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International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 13:02

The international symbol of disability is the wheelchair and the stereotype of a person with disability is a young man with paraplegia. While these images are very familiar, at the same time we know that this is not an accurate picture of the diversity of global disability. Whereas 15% of the population are affected by disability, less than 0.1% of the population have spinal cord injury.However, spinal cord injury is particularly devastating, for two reasons. First, it often

strikes out of the blue. A driver is tired and inebriated late at night, and veers off the road, resulting in a roll-over crash and consequent tetraplegia. The teenager dives into a pool, only to break her neck. A workman falls from scaffolding, and becomes paraplegic. An earthquake strikes and a person’s back is injured by falling masonry. A middle aged woman is paralysed due to pressure from a tumour. In all these examples, someone in the prime of their life becomes disabled in an instant. None of us are immune from this risk. Second, the consequences of SCI are commonly either premature mortality or at best social exclusion. Trauma care systems are frequently inadequate. For many, access to high quality rehabilitation and assistive devices is unavailable. Ongoing health care is lacking, which means that a person with spinal cord injury is likely to die within a few years from urinary tract infections or pressure sores. Even when individuals are lucky enough to receive the health and rehabilitation care they require, they are likely to be denied access to the education and employment which could enable them to regain their independence and make a contribution to their families and their society.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 15:44
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