It is more than likely that spinal cord injuries, as well as other serious injuries, occur more often than they are diagnosed in Illinois. Understanding the exact nature of any injury is nearly as important to the field of law as it is to the practice of medicine. Complete diagnoses are often necessary to determine the extent of the injuries in a personal injury case, and therefore the necessary treatments that should be discussed.
Spinal cord and skeletal system injuries are among the most difficult to diagnose, perhaps because of their insidious nature. The Mayo Clinic states on their spinal cord injury page that severe symptoms, such as paralysis, might occur some time after the initial trauma. Another possible challenge to full diagnosis is the range of symptoms and complications: Spinal injuries might affect nearly any system of the body, from the bladder to the skin.
Despite the severity of spinal injuries and their potential complications, it appears that doctors and other clinicians do not fully investigate patients suffering from this type of trauma. A study by the National Institutes of Health found that a large percentage of brain injuries related to spinal trauma are not being diagnosed. In fact, over half of the patients in the study had brain injuries that acute caregivers missed.
The writers of the NIH study suggest a need for more robust diagnostic procedures for spinal trauma victims. However, it stands to reason that hospitals and other acute care centers might continue to overlook brain injuries until these wide-reaching institutional reforms are enacted.