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How is paraplegia different than quadriplegia?


You were a little hesitant when you dropped your daughter off for her first day of school at S.J. Welsh. You just recently moved to Calcasieu Parish, and she was not happy about changing schools. A million thoughts ran through your mind as she jumped out of the car and ran through the doors.

Is she going to hate it here? Will she make new friends? Will she open up, or will she reserved?

For the next few hours, you attempted to keep yourself distracted, while waiting until you had to go back to get her. About five minutes before you were supposed to be there, you pulled up outside the school, nervously anticipating her daily report. Finally, the bell rang, and as the students rushed out, you saw your daughter come through the doors, pushing a girl in a wheelchair, and laughing hysterically.

She wheeled the girl over to a nearby van, where the girl’s mother was waiting to help her inside. The two girls waved and gave each other huge hugs, before your daughter ran over to you and jumped into the car.

On the way home you discussed everything that happened at school, including the girl in the wheelchair.

“Her name is Tess, and she’s been paralyzed since she was five-years-old,” your daughter informed you.

“She’s paralyzed? So she’s quadriplegic?” you inquired.

She looked at you like you were crazy. “Ummm. No, mom. Didn’t you see us hug? She’s paraplegic.”

As soon as you heard her say it, you realized that she’s smarter than you, because you honestly don’t know the difference. Paralysis is paralysis...right?

Varying Paralysis and How Quadriplegics Suffer Differently Than Paraplegics

Paraplegia and quadriplegia are generally referred to as paralysis. However, due to where the initial spinal cord injury occurred, symptoms of paraplegics and quadriplegics can widely differ. It is true that plegia means paralysis, but the location of the paralysis, and what is paralyzed, is determined by where the spinal cord was damaged. Thus paraplegics are paralyzed differently than quadriplegics:

  • Paraplegics. Paraplegics suffer from partial to complete paralysis that affects two limbs (generally just the legs). The paralysis results from an injury to the thoracic, lumbar, or sacral regions of the spinal cord (below the neck). Paraplegics are usually hospitalized for up to five months for extensive rehabilitation and therapy.
  • Quadriplegics. Quadriplegics suffer from partial to complete paralysis of all four libs (arms and legs, including the hips). This type of paralysis results when the regions of the spine known as C-1 through C-4 (neck area) are damaged. This damage causes the victim to lose both sensory and motor function, thus completely limiting sensation and control. Quadriplegics usually need at least six to eight months’ worth of extensive rehabilitation before they can be discharged from the hospital to continue treatment and therapy.

No matter where your injury occurred, how severe the injury is, nor where the injury has caused you to be partially or completely paralyzed—spinal cord injuries can be extremely debilitating. Don’t allow an accidental mishap to destroy your independence, cost you your life savings, and affect your mental state. You deserve more.

Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your case. We care about our clients, and will do everything in our power to help you get your life back on track. Call today for the support, care, and helping hand that you need to file your injury claim and get the settlement you deserve.

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