According to the Centers for Disease Control, close to a million burn injuries occur in the United States each year that are severe enough to require medical attention. Hospitalization is required in approximately 50,000 cases, and 20,000 of burn cases involve burns that cover a quarter of the body's surface or more. More than 4,000 die from these burns, and as many as 10,000 die due to related infections.
One spinal cord injury changes many lives forever. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, approximately 11,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries in the United States annually. The majority of spinal cord injury victims are young men. But that statistic does not include the 11,000 families struggling to share the burden of the potentially life-long aftermath of the traumatic event. The number 11,000 fails to even begin to express the profound physical and emotional loss that can accompany this most devastating of all injuries. The financial cost can be absolutely staggering for any family. When the medical community has exhausted its efforts to restore and rehabilitate, the victim and their family must rely on each other to carry on. But sometimes, if the injury was caused by the carelessness of another, the legal system can offer help.
Traumatic brain injury, or catastrophic brain injury, affects approximately 1.5 million Americans per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). CDC also estimates that about 5.3 million U.S. citizens - about 2 percent of the population - live with issues related to traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI is not necessarily a killer, though about 50,000 people die every year from TBI. Yearly, 80,000 to 90,000 people suffer from a long-term disability because of TBI.
Statistics often have little meaning and are quickly forgotten. But statistics about fatal auto accidents should be different. Those statistics should be alarming to all of us. Those statistics aren't just numbers; they are people - friends, family members and people we've never met.