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In the first 72 hours after the accident, you will be overwhelmed trying to understand what has happened, what it means, and what you need to do. There will be lots of people running around telling you things and asking for your input. And you're going to need help. We know...we've been through it ourselves. On this page, you will find the basic information you need to help you deal with the first 72 hours. At the bottom of this page is a convenient PDF you can print out with detailed information that expands on the information below.

Sample Injury

Spine Injury Basics

The first 72 hours is the beginning of a window of time where you will make some of the most important decisions that will impact the rest of your life. Every spinal injury is unique. It is important to quickly learn the basics about the human spine and the variety of injuries to the spine so that you can understand what the doctors are telling you about the injury and diagnosis. This will help you work effectively with your caregivers and case managers. The PDF document SIRF developed is designed to help quickly educate spine injury victims and their families. It includes information about:

  • Basic structure and functions of the spine
  • Main types of spine injuries
  • Glossary of terms about the spine
  • Illustrations of the spine and spine injuries
  • American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale

Questions You Need Answered

You will have a million questions, but you won’t be able to remember most of the answers. We want to help you ask the most important questions you need answers to in the first 72 hours. Print out our PDF questionnaire and use it to write down the answers to the questions below and insist on specific details and names. Take the time and make the effort to get this information correct now.

  • What is my injury?
  • Is this facility equipped to handle my type of spinal cord injury?
  • What is my diagnosis?
  • Who is my treating physician?
  • Has my physician ever treated my type of injury before?
  • Do I require surgery?
  • Who will be my surgeon?
  • What is my neurological recovery prognosis?
  • If surgery is required, what facility will I need to go to after it is completed?
  • Once I am stabilized, where can I go for rehabilitation?

Who Are the Key Players?

There will be many people involved in your overall care and rehabilitation. It is important to know who they are, what they do, and to stay in communication with them on a regular basis. Use our PDF document to help you keep a list with their names, contact information and what they do. It is important to build a relationship with them that is honest and collaborative. They are here to help. Nobody wants to deal with a patient or family that is difficult, antagonistic, openly hostile or ungrateful. The quality of care given to you is directly related to the effort you make to listen, understand, and collaborate with the Key Players who may include:

  • Family and Friends
  • Physicians and Physiatrists
  • Surgeon
  • Psychologists
  • Nursing Team
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Speech Pathologists
  • Insurance Case Manager
  • Hospital Case Manager
  • Social Workers
  • Lawyer
  • Pastor/Spiritual Support

We have prepared a document including Spine Injury Basics descriptions and illustrations, a "Questions You Need Answered" questionnaire with spaces to write down the answers, and a list of Key Players and their roles, with spaces provided to write down their names and contact information. Print this document and keep it with you for ongoing reference. [CLICK HERE TO PRINT PDF DOCUMENT]

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