Earlier this month, a beloved husband and father-to-be passed away from a paralyzing hunting accident. After falling 16 feet from his tree stand, Tim Bowers woke up in the hospital with a shattered spine and was told that he would most likely spend the rest of his life connected to a breathing machine. Having had conversations with his wife prior to this accident about what he would want if ever placed into this situation, Abbey Bowers knew what his decision would most likely be. After a few days, Tim Bowers decided to remove himself from life support and passed away shortly afterward.
In this specific case, Bowers’ C3, C4, and C5 vertebrae, situated at the base of his neck, which determine movement below the clavicle, were crushed. Specialists assessed that surgery could fuse the vertebrae, but that Bowers would likely spend a good portion of his life in a rehabilitation hospital, relying on a machine to help him breathe.
While his decision to be removed from life support may seem extreme, it is understandable, especially considering the conversations he previously had with his family about living on life support.
“The last thing he wanted was to be in a wheelchair,” Abbey Bowers said Wednesday. “To have all that stuff taken away would probably be devastating. He would never be able to give hugs, to hold his baby. We made sure he knew that, so he could make a decision. Even if he decided on the other thing, the quality of life would’ve been very poor. His life expectancy would be very low.”
When faced with decisions like this it is important to remember that, while not for everyone, there are treatment options and important questions to ask. There are many factors that can determine treatment options – the severity of the injury, the specific vertebrae or spinal cord segments affected, and previous injuries all factor into the available treatment options. Individuals who experience a spinal injury and decide to undergo surgery will spend time in a rehabilitation hospital to strengthen muscles in the parts of the body that still function, and to relearn the tasks of daily living. Family members can also receive education in assisting the injured person.
The Denver spinal cord injury attorneys at Bendinelli Law Firm have taken on multiple spinal injury cases, have studied the spine, and are well equipped to help. If you or someone you love has recently experienced a spinal injury due to the negligence or recklessness of others, or you have questions about whether your insurance covers this type of injury, please call us today.