The New York Times is running a feature on “Voices of Spinal Cord Injury,” with feedback from lots of folks who are SCI survivors.  Here are a few excerpts from the feedback:

•    “Once a person goes through a spinal cord injury one’s life changes in the most drastic way imaginable…slowly, painfully, and frustratingly we find a way to adapt.”

•     “Even thought the health-related issues of my disability are stressful, the major battle for me is the struggle for accessibility, social acceptance, employment opportunities and insurance coverage…. not to mention the ever shrinking pool of doctors who will accept me as a patient and who have the expertise/experience that I need. Actually, it would be much easier for me to cope with the health aspect of my spinal-cord injury if I didn’t have to battle the great bear called “bigotry.” I can’t speak for others, but for me the lack of social acceptance and understanding is main struggle in my life, not the wheelchair itself.”

•    “Life is absolutely horrible for people with spinal cord injury who have to live on Social Security Disability or welfare alone. I am lucky because I had the smarts to know how to tread water economically, until the insurance company (AIG) for trucker who injured me paid off, 3 1/2 years after my injury. During that time, it was a hand to mouth existence for my family, who are still suffering the emotional effects of those dire circumstances.”

•    “Most people with spinal cord injuries just barely live month to month, and many cannot find wheelchair accessible housing. . . . The feds stopped building elderly high rises 30 years ago that had ten percent of units for the disabled. Those that remain have long waiting lists for adapted units. The private sector is NOT required by the ADA to build accessible apts. I wish the Times would do an article about the crisis in housing for the majority of the disabled who are not wealthy.”

•    “It’s astounding that we’re willing to spend trillions to fight wars and kill each other and more trillions to bail out corrupted corporate entities while a fraction of that amount would likely result in all manner of advances in regenerative medicine that could improve both the quality and the quantity of life for all of us!”

•    “Now when I see AB’s (able-bodied persons) take handicapped parking spaces it makes me want to get a crowbar and bash in their windshields. . . . There is no way that an AB can fully understand what it’s like to have an SCI.”

•    “The unemployment rate among those who live with a spinal cord injury is 70%.”

•    “In a rich nation such as ours where billions are poured into stupid and unnecessary wars as well as into the undeserving financial industry it’s a disgrace that any spinal cord patient should find their situation so desperate that they would consider suicide.”

Ken Shigley is  currently Secretary of the nearly 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.  He is a  trial attorney in Atlanta, who has been listed as a "Super Lawyer" (Atlanta Magazine), among the "Legal Elite" (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale).  A Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, he has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury and burn injury cases.