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Protecting The Legal Interests Of Injured Hawaii Residents And Visitors Since 1973

Insurance benefits do not always cover new therapies

When a resident of Hawaii is injured in a serious auto accident, the primary focus is on receiving the appropriate emergency medical treatment. In the days and weeks ahead, the patient and his or her family will begin to consider the long-term ramifications of the damage that has been suffered. When a spinal cord injury has occurred, the road to recovery can be long and difficult to navigate. Many families are surprised to learn that their insurance benefits may not cover all forms of medical care, especially when it comes to treatments that are newly available.

As an example, researchers have recently published the results of a study in which a new chemical compound has shown very promising results in animal trials. The compound is known as intracellular sigma peptide (ISP) and may offer a medical breakthrough in its ability to overcome the problems brought on by the body's response to injury. Specifically, ISP seems to be able to address a build-up of protoglycans in areas where scar tissue is present. When these protoglycans are present at high levels, the body's ability to regenerate is severely impeded.

When researchers injected ISP into the bodies of lab rats with severe spinal cord damage, more than 80 percent of test subjects experienced the activation of previously paralyzed muscle tissue. Many regained a measure of mobility, as well as the ability to control urination. Should similar treatment be successful in human subjects, many patients who suffer from spinal cord injury could benefit.

As with any cutting-edge medical matter, the ability to benefit often requires the ability to cover the cost of treatment. While insurance benefits will usually cover a significant amount of a spinal cord patient's rehabilitation, those benefits are usually limited to treatments that have been in place for a considerable period of time, not those that are on the leading edge of medicine and technology. For those in Hawaii who have been involved in serious car accidents, obtaining the best possible care often relies upon a successful personal injury lawsuit.

Source: Fox News, "Compound shows 'extraordinary' promise in restoring muscle function after spinal cord injury", Dec. 3, 2014

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