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best friend in car accident

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  • best friend in car accident

    My best friend was in a car accident on Monday (11-17-03). A 17 year-old girl ran a red light and hit her square in the driver's side door. I got a call on Tuesday saying they didn't think she would make it. Well, she is okay now, but the doctor says she is quadradplegic. He also said that this is the worse part of your back you can break and most people don't survive this kind. Does anyone know what that might be. I know it was part of her neck and it was a 6 or something. Her spinal cord was only bruised. Does that mean she could regain some movement. Does anyone have any advice for me when I go to see her? I live 4 hours away (Im at college) and I am unsure of what to say to her. Thanks!

  • #2
    It sounds to me like she broke her 6th cervical vertebrae(making her a C6). This isn't the worst part she could break, but any spinal cord injury is devastating. She could, and most likely will, regain some movement. How much movement she regains depends mostly on the severity of the bruise. I would be there to support her and make sure she stays optimistic for the future.

    She could also try to contact Craig Hospital in Denver and try to get involved in the activated macrophages trial. That's a new procedure that seems to restore some movement, but it has to be done within 14 days of the injury I believe. Good things are in the works as far as reversing the effects of spinal cord injury.


    • #3
      Actually, I was wrong about the number in her break. It was for sure a C2. It broke down to C6. Do you know if this is a common break? Has anyone ever met anyone with a C2 break? I know there might have been a chance to regain movement with a C6, but what about C2?


        Hi Tammy,

        I am so sorry to hear about your friend. Spinal cord injuries are indeed devastating. My daughter broke her neck at C2 and C3 6 months ago. It has been a long road. She initially had very little movement, but is now walking with a cane, and is even walking around the house without the use of a cane. As unfortunate as her accident was, she has been fortunate to recover like she has. Your friend needs all the emotional support you can give her at this time. My daughter had one very special friend who was there for her throughout this ordeal. The friend attends the same college as my daughter did, and so was not physically always able to visit. She still called, wrote letters and e-mailed. Although our family is very close, this friend allowed my daughter to stay connected to being a college kid. I will always be grateful to her for that.
        A C2 injury is very high, and is wrought with complications (we went through most of these - pneumonia, ventilator, bedsores, stomach tube). However, if the injury is incomplete, there is still hope for recovery, and in some cases, significant recovery.
        This site if filled with valuable information. I didn't find it until my daughter had been discharged from rehab. I wish I had found it earlier. I'm glad you have. I think you will see it is very helpful, and in return you can reach out to your friend and help her. She is lucky to have you!


          Actually where she broke the bones in her spine is less important than where and how the spinal cord is damaged. Many people survive high spinal cord injuries. Christopher Reeve (for example) has a spinal cord injury at C3. We have members of this board who also have high injuries. Some are so incomplete that they walk. Some are so complete that they must be on a ventilator to breathe.

          Regardless, it is way too early to tell how severe this injury will be in the long run. It is critical that your friend get moved to a major SCI center ASAP. This should be Model SCI Center that has extensive experience with high injuries including ventilator care. You did not say what part of the country your friend is in, but centers that would immediately come to mind on the East Coast include Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Kessler Rehabilitation Hospital in New Jersey, and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. In the MidWest, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago/Northwestern Hospital. In the Rocky Mountain area, Craig Hospital in Denver. In the South, TIRR in Houston. On the West Coast, Rancho Los Amigos in Downey, Santa Clara County Medical Center in San Jose, and Harborview/University of Washington in Seattle.

          If you can visit your friend and provide information to her family as well, this would be a big help to them. You can also get help from the Christopher Reeve Foundation or the National Spinal Cord Injury Association in finding the appropriate resourses.

          The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


            My best friend lives in St. louis, Missouri. She is at Barnes-Jewish hospital. You say she should move to a SCI center? I also have one more question: Having a S2 injury will she ever be able to talk again?



              I'm so sorry, but I'm glad she has a friend like you. I have a friend with a c2 break. She can talk now, it took a while messing with the vent to get her on the kind that would let her talk. Does your friend have other injuries? If not, getting her to a good SCI (short for spinal cord injury) rehab fast will keep her as healthy as possible and put her on the right path. Regular hospitals are dangerous places for people like us who can't move. Please try to get this info to your friend's parents. Are they ever on the computer? They need to visit this website. I think you should read the article written by Dr. Young for new injuries, print it off and send it to both your friend and her parents. Here is the link:
     Please call her parents today to let them know about the treatment being offered at Craig in Denver for injuries under 14 days old, which was mentioned by cjo below. It's a slow healing injury, but they need to act fast right now for best results. Good luck to you all...

              P.S. You asked for advice when you go to see her. That will be hard.My best friend still can't talk about it. Remember it is still her in there, broken and scared, but still her. She will want to know that you will be there for her. My friend brought me fashion mags and cheesy gossip mags. You could hold them for her and laugh at the clothes, maybe? Take a movie you know she will like, watch it on your laptop? Talk to her like you always have even tho it's hard to have a one-sided conversation.

              C5/6 incomplete, injured Aug. 2000
              Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


                Hi, Tammy--

                I'ts really good that you found this site so quickly; it took me almost a year after my husband broke C6 in early 2001. What the others have said is right, but I would emphasize again and again that it is simply too early to know what is going to happen. In our case, the initial diagnosis was also "complete quadriplegia"--but my husband is still recovering strength, and he's been walking for two years.

                Neuroscience depends heavily on statistics. They really can only say that in X% of the cases they see, this is the result . . . when a doctor says that a person with a brand new contusion injury is a quadriplegic, that doctor is making a well-educated guess, but it is still only a guess.

                Therefore, persist in hope. Your friend is injured; behave as if this were any other kind of serious injury. Visit as often as you can, stay educated, and above all let her know she has every reason to expect that even if she doesn't recover much on her own, there will soon be therapies to help her.

                And ask anybody on these forums whenever you hear anything that sounds wrong. And tell her parents about Wise Young!


                  Along with the fine hospitals that SCI-Nurse mentioned there are three spinal cord injury hospitals on St. Louis. They are at the Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis, St. John's Mercy Medical Center and SSM St. Mary's. Each one does a good job of rehabilitation. Their approaches differ slightly and your friend and her family can see what each has to offer and which hospital will match her needs and her expectations.
                  "Carpe carp."--- Seize the fish!