by The Welthi Bureau | 20 NOV 2017
Around 55% paraplegic patients due to spinal injuries can hope to join active workforce
Doctors emphasize on increases focus on prevention from spinal injuries at International Spine and Spinal Injuries Conference 2017
Anil Kumar, who broke his spine when he received a shock from livewire and fell from the third floor. He lost power in his both legs and control of passing urine and stool. With his wife being pregnant during the time of the accident, his family was devastated at this misadventure.
He visited Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) and underwent surgery and a course of dedicated rehabilitation. Today although he is wheelchair bound, but he has not only returned to work and does all activities of daily living but also is a member of wheelchair basketball team. He recently became father for the first time and fulfils responsibilities there as well.
"Comprehensive rehabilitation remains the key to recovery of a spinal injury patient. This involves multiple therapies from physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychosocial counseling, peer-counseling as well as creating appropriate assistive technology to help the patient lead independent and active lifestyles. We need to put greater thrust on these aspects to help patients get back to fruitful work lives," said Dr H S Chhabra, Secretary, Spinal Cord Society, Medical Director, India Spinal Injuries Center, on the occasion of International Spine and Spinal Injuries Conference (ISSICON) 2017 at Le Meridian.
Reintegrating spinal injury patients into mainstream workforce remains a major challenge in India and other low income countries due to factors such as lack of quality rehabilitation facilities, delayed presentation of injury as well as absence of impactful assistive technology.
Vehicular accidents and specially those involving two-wheelers accounts for a majority of spinal injuries in India. Also, around 40% of spinal injuries happen to people in the age-group of 20 to 40. Unfortunately, shortage of quality rehabilitation services and lack of focus on reinstilling confidence among patients make reintegration of patients a major challenge in India.
Human negligence and ignored infrastructure are becoming key factors causing falls and slips which lead to severe injuries. Highlighting the how negligence acts as a main factor causing spinal injuries, Dr H S Chhabra, Secretary, Spinal Cord Society, Medical Director, India Spinal Injuries Center, said “A 26-year-old girl Karishma suffered severe spinal injuries that restricted her to wheelchair. She suffered these injuries due to a fall from a weak balcony railing of a Goa hotel room where she had checked-in during a holiday trip. Only after aggressive treatment and rehabilitative measures were we able to provide her the independence that she has now. She operates using her wheelchair and has been working for some time now. However, the important aspect of the case is that this was avoidable if there had been no negligence in maintenance of hotel infrastructure.”
The experts focused on the need for providing spinal cord injury (SCI) survivors with better rehabilitative care and treatments options. Various initiatives for penetration of best available technology and post-surgery rehabilitative and therapeutic care and easy accessibility of loans to try and make treatment reach a larger section of the country was stressed upon at the conference.
Making a case for the treatment options accessible for the masses, Dr Chhabra said, “Studies have shown that 55% of paraplegic patients are known to have returned to active workforce. Other than discussing various advancements in treatment and rehabilitative care, this conference also focused on means that can be employed on a national level in reaching out to maximum people with affordable treatment facilities, which will further contribute to the building of an inclusive India."
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