Quadriplegia is an injury that involves paralysis of all four limbs—both arms and legs—and is caused either by a spinal cord accident or illness. Patients who suffer from a quadriplegia injury often develop complications including difficulty breathing, problems with bladder control, loss of sexual function, weakness, numbness and physical pain. Victims who experience a quadriplegia accident may face massive medical bills, lifelong therapy, rehabilitation and costs for personal care.
There can be many causes of accidents that involve spinal cord injuries, including medical malpractice, negligence and car accidents. Further traumas that can cause quadriplegia include violence—such as gunshot wounds—falls or sports injuries. Illnesses that can result in quadriplegia include polio, spina bifida or transverse myelitis.
The most notable symptoms of quadriplegia include an inability to use the limbs. Patients may also experience impaired function in the torso, such as difficulty controlling the bowel and bladder, loss of sexual function, and problems with digestion and breathing. Patients may also experience impaired sensation in affected areas. This impaired sensation can involve numbness, lack of sensation or a burning pain.
Symptoms of Quadriplegia
Depending on the severity of the injury, patients may have partial use of limbs, such as an ability to move the arms but not the hands. Patients may also experience different impairment on the left and right side of the body.
Some patients with quadriplegia may also be unable to move their head.
If the quadriplegia is the result of an accident that occurred at work, the patient may be required to file a workers' compensation claim. Work injuries can be the result of improper training, inadequate safety gear, failure to maintain equipment or unsafe working conditions. Filing a workers' compensation claim, however, may exclude the victim from later filing a lawsuit, making it important that the victim speak to a lawyer to determine the best course of action.
Quadriplegia and Workers' Compensation
Patients with quadriplegia are protected from discrimination under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Despite this protection, some patients with quadriplegia still experience civil rights violations.