The horrors surrounding paralysis were brought to the fore last week, as the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF) announced incredibly that Polish fireman Darek Fidyka is able to walk again, thanks to the research funded by the Foundation and the brainpower of Geoffrey Raisman, of University College London.
A fuller account of the surgery that Darek underwent can be found here, but what struck us at Veritas is how in one split second a life can be changed, ruined – or ended. Darek Fidyka was stabbed in the back which caused his paralysis. Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala suffered immediate paralysis due to falling badly following a celebration summersault – and later died. Daniel Nicholls was paralysed by hitting his head on a sandbank in Australia, which caused his father, David to found the NSIF, focused on spinal research.
Paralysis can happen so easily and happens every day, with around 1,200 people sustaining a spinal cord injury each year and 50,000 people living with paralysis in the UK and Ireland. The cost to the nation is estimated at £1 billion per annum.
Nearly 42% of paralysis in the UK is caused by falls and around 12% caused by sport. With our love of outdoor and extreme sports growing, the fear is that these figures may well increase which will undoubtedly have an impact on equipment services.
NHS Figures show that the use of services is increasing but budgets are not… With technology comes ever more sophisticated equipment and wheelchairs but, alas, many budgets can’t stretch to them – personal or NHS, which ironically means that much equipment designed for aiding accessibility becomes inaccessible to those who need it.
There has to be a point where demand and supply dovetail and hopefully, with the Payment by Results efficiency initiative, that day is nigh.