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Birth injury » Spinal cord birth injuries

Among the various injuries that can occur as a result of birth accidents, spinal cord injuries can have serious implications for a baby in terms of its ability to function normally in life. Spinal cord injuries are sustained when trauma is received and the nerves within the spinal cord are damaged, affecting a babys ability to move and register sensations. The spinal cord does not have to be severed for a loss of function to occur.

What is the spinal cord exactly?

The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves carrying nerve impulses between the brain and the rest of the body. It runs from the brain to the hips and the brain and spinal cord together make up the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS controls thought processes, sends signals to body parts to allow movement and registers new sensations.

The nerves that exit and enter the spinal chord at each vertebra and connect it with other parts of the body are called lower motor neurons and dorsal root sensory neurons. Motor and sensory nerves outside the CNS make up the peripheral nervous system and other nerve systems which control the bodys temperature and blood pressure.

The spinal cord and surrounding vertebrae

The vertebrae around the spinal cord are the building blocks of the spine - also known as the spinal column. The neck vertebrae in the spine are called the cervical vertebrae and there are eight of them. A spinal injury birth accident affecting this area of the body usually results in a loss of function in the arms and legs.

In the chest there are 12 vertebrae, known as the thoracic vertebrae. Spinal cord injuries in this area affect movement and feeling in the chest and the legs. In the lower back, they are called the lumbar vertebrae and injuries here affect the function of the hips and legs. The higher in the spine the spinal cord injury, the more dysfunction a baby will experience.

Treatment for spinal cord injuries

At the moment, there is no way of resolving spinal cord injuries. Research and recent advances in medicine mean that damage can now be reduced at the time of injury, however. When a spinal cord injury occurs, there is usually a swelling of the spinal cord. Steroids reduce swelling, a common cause of secondary damage in addition to the main injury.

Other drugs reduce loss of function and mobility, although this process is not yet properly understood. After some time, swelling does go down and some functioning may be regained. This period may be as short as a few weeks but also up to two years after the event.

Effects of spinal cord injuries

The effects of spinal cord injuries depends on the type and level of injury. A complete injury means that there is no function below the level of the injury. In other words, no sensation and no movement.

An incomplete injury means that there is some functioning below the level of the injury. A baby with an incomplete injury may be able to move one limb more than another and feel parts of the body but be unable to move them.

How to claim if your child has a spinal cord injury

If your baby has suffered damage to their spinal cord as a result of medical negligence and you believe you are entitled to make a personal injury claim, contact HappyClaim. Our solicitors are experts in medical negligence compensation and have an excellent success rate in dealing with these type of cases.

Damage to the spinal cord can have long-term consequences for your child and seriously affect their ability to grow and progress. We realise that any injury experienced by your child so soon after they are born will be causing them and you much distress. We will deal sympathetically with your concerns and answer your queries quickly, clearly and honestly.

Call us today on 01582 437070 and we will provide you with a no obligation legal advice and assistance regarding the birth injury your child has been involved in.