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Thread: Likelihood of recovering full hand function with C6/7 incomplete spinal cord injury?

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    Likelihood of recovering full hand function with C6/7 incomplete spinal cord injury?

    I ask this question on behalf of a fifteen-year-old girl I sort of accidentally met about a month ago (give or take), while I was hospitalized with bone infection. She had sustained spinal cord damage in a two-storey fall, and was in a halo cast. I also met her father a couple of times. He seemed like a basically decent guy at the time. We talked some, and apparently he liked me.

    The reason I bring up the father is that now, he has apparently decided his daughter doesn't really need any further professional care. He's taken her home from the hospital (allegedly against medical advice), and is refusing to pay for any further treatment.

    Before anyone jumps on this, I know that under normal circumstances, there would be ways to work around this. We have socialized health care in this country, and in the event that the father were to prove either unable or manifestly unwilling to cover the copays on her treatments, ways exist to make the insurer pay for everything, including what would normally be covered by the patient. However, the girl and her father are in this country illegally. They're not covered by mandatory health insurance the way most of us are.

    Now, according to the girl herself, the issue is not so much that her father doesn't have the money to pay for treatment out of pocket (I can guess at what he does for a living, but in the interest of keeping this discussion civilized, I won't). It's that he just doesn't think it's worth it. I'm guessing this is a cultural issue, where the father is thinking along the lines that if she's going to spend the rest of her life cooped up at home anyway, as most of her peers who happen to be women do, who cares if she's a miserable excuse for a crip (can you tell I'm kind of angry at this guy?).

    So the father apparently has not been listening to anything medical personnel have been trying to tell him, but his daughter for some reason believes that if I could talk to him, I might be able to get through to him. The problem is, I have no idea what to tell him.

    From what she tells me, she has a C6/7 incomplete injury. I don't know what her ASIA score is. I don't even know if it's commonly used to classify spinal cord injuries around here. She herself seems most worried that if she doesn't get some more therapy now, she will never be able to use her hands in a functional way again. She says that she's able to bend her elbows and turn her palms upwards, but has not had any functional return in her wrists or fingers. She does, however, claim to have felt tingling and 'muscle flutters' in her hands.

    I guess what I'm hoping for here are some stories from people who have a similar injury level: how are you functioning now, how long did it take for you to get there, and was the PT/OT you got of instrumental importance in this? What exactly do I tell this guy, so that he will give his daughter at least a fighting chance?
    Last edited by Saranoya; 04-22-2011 at 04:47 AM. Reason: deleted a stray sentence at the end

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