As a Bellevue auto accident attorney in a Seattle personal injury law firm, I have seen some of the devastating injuries that serious car accidents can cause. These serious injuries include head trauma, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries that can lead to permanent damage such as paralysis. These accidents can have life changing effects on the victim. Medical care will likely be required for a long period of time, the injury could affect job performance, and there might be added pressures on close family and friends. Recently, doctors in Atlanta have worked on a controversial experiment to determine both the safety and the effects of stem cell infusion into a partially paralyzed spine.
Researchers are working on a way to fix one of the problems associated with serious auto accidents. A 21 year-old student in Alabama was paralyzed from the chest down in a terrible car accident on September 25. After emergency treatment at a regional medical center, Timothy Atchison of Chatom, Alabama was transferred to the Shepard Center in Atlanta which specializes in spinal cord injuries. 13 days after the accident, Atchison agreed to let doctors inject 2 million cells made from stem cells into his spine in an FDA approved experiment to assess safety and determine if the cells can restore movement and sensation. In experiments with rats, the drug repaired damaged spinal cords and restored mobility.
“I’m doing well” said Atchison when asked about his condition “It’s not at the stage to really know what’s going on.” Proponents of embryonic stem cell research say that it could revolutionize medicine. Atchison is working with a family friend to tell his story in a book.
If it is successful, this experiment could pave the way for treatments to ameliorate some of the problems that serious auto accidents can cause, specifically spinal cord injuries. There are over 250,000 Americans who are living with spinal cord injuries of various degrees. Auto accidents are the most common cause of these kinds of injuries. There are two ways to classify a spinal cord injury: complete and incomplete. An incomplete spinal injury allows for sensation and motor function below the injured part of the spine, while a complete spinal injury leads to paralysis. Currently, there is no cure for spinal cord injuries but with this study doctors are taking a huge step in spinal cord research.