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    Lost's Spinal Surgery Claims Have No Backing in Modern Medicine

    Lost's Spinal Surgery Claims Have No Backing in Modern Medicine

    In Lost's season premiere, Dr. Jack Shephard, a spinal surgeon, told John Locke, who is paralyzed from the waist down, that his injury might be reversible—that he might actually walk again. PM talks to experts to find out if it could really happen.

    By Erin McCarthy
    Published on: February 17, 2010

    Poor John Locke. Not much is different for him in Lost's new parallel universe: His boss, Randy, is still a jerk. He still carries around a case full of knives. He doesn't get to go on his walkabout, because he still can't walk. But there is one big difference, revealed last night in "The Substitute." When Locke's fiancée, Helen, asks him to elope, she mentions bringing her parents—and his dad.

    Hold the phone! If Locke's still buddy-buddy with his father, that means a con man didn't scam Locke out of a kidney and eventually push him out a window—the ultimate act of betrayal that led to Locke's paralyzing spinal injury in Lost's primary reality. Who knows how the unlucky Locke got injured in this parallel universe. In this episode, Locke spent his time trying to figure out if he should call spinal surgeon Jack Shephard, whom he met in Oceanic's lost luggage office in this season's first episode. "Nothing's irreversible," Shephard told Locke. But when it comes to spinal cord injuries, is that really true?

    It depends on the extent and position of the injury, says Dr. Thomas Zdeblick, director of the University of Wisconsin Spine Center. There are three possible places where you can injure your spine—the cervical spine (neck), the thorassic spine (the rib cage) and the lumbar spine (the lower back)—and injuries can either be complete, where the spine is completely severed, or incomplete, where some motion and sensation is preserved. "People who have incomplete spinal cord injuries do recover completely now with modern spinal surgery," Zdeblick says. "I have had a number of people over the years that have been what we call motor complete, meaning they cannot move anything below a certain level," he says. "With appropriate and immediate surgery, they walk out of the hospital." In cases where the spinal cord injury is complete, however, not even surgery can fix them.


  2. #2
    Actually, Randy was a

    I thought Locke and his van getting blocked was spot on until I saw he was in denial. But luckily, he had reached acceptance at the end of the hour.

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