Spinal cord injuries (SCI) are among the most devastating physical injuries one can suffer. We have had SCI clients whose first reaction was to wish for death rather than life with paralysis.

In our law practice over several decades, we have represented numerous spinal cord injury survivors. Most had benefited from rehabilitation services at Shepherd Center or Emory Rehabilitation Hospital, both of which are near us in Atlanta. All these clients were injured in motor vehicle crashes or falls. One client who had been a high-powered government executive before an accident made him quadriplegic initially wanted to just turn his

Spinal cord injury survivors may someday have more hope for functional recovery. An article in Brain by James Fawcett at Cambridge University summarizes research papers reporting functional recovery following a variety of treatments. These have included interventions that affect myelin inhibitory molecules and their receptors, or inhibitory chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans, and treatments in which the regenerative potential of axons has been stimulated through growth-factor receptors or manipulation of internal signalling pathways. The article suggests  it is probable that much of the useful recovery seen following treatment of animals with partial spinal cord lesions is due to the stimulation of plasticity.  However, there is a wide gap between basic research with lab animals and clinically useful treatments.

Survivors of spinal cord injury face life-long problems with mobility.  As an attorney representing spinal cord injury survivors, I have often addressed needs for adapted vehicles in life care plans. Now there is news of the first factory-built, wheelchair accessible car – the MV-1 – which is a milestone for the 14 million American adults who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. We may list this in future life care plans for survivors of catastrophic spinal cord injury who are paraplegic or quadriplegic.