Read on to know how a 36-year-old man suffered an unknown spinal injury that left him paralyzed for life – all within a matter of just 20 minutes.
In July 2019, the life of a 36-year-old man, Darren Roberts changed when he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his shoulders and neck, followed by needle-like sensations in his arms. Before he could comprehend anything, it was too late because, within a matter of just 20 minutes, his body neck down had stopped responding. The numbness had spread throughout his body and all he was left was a paralyzed body and despair.
Irreversible damage to the spinal cord
Although Darren eventually responded to the treatment, the damage sustained by his spinal cord was irreversible and he had no choice left but to come to terms with the fact that his life will never be the same again.
According to Metro.co.uk, Darren said, “During all of this, my parents had called for an ambulance, and when they arrived they basically had to remove me from the bath as I was basically dead from the neck down.”
“I had an inkling it was more serious than I thought, although I was still awake and breathing when the ambulance arrived. When I had the MRI I was completely immobile,” he added.
As ‘spine’ chilling this peculiar case of Darren Robers is, it is also extremely intriguing.
Hear it from the expert
Times Now Digital connected with Dr Pavan Pai, Neurologist at Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road to understand how the human body can turn into a dysfunctional mess within a matter of just 20 minutes.
Commenting on the possible conditions that can lead to instances of paralysis, Dr Pavan said, “It (paralysis) happened all of a sudden so it looks like a case of demyelination because otherwise, he would have been conscious and alert. His limbs stooped responding and it was followed by a needle-like sensation. This indicates a loss of transfer of impulse from the brain to other parts of the body”
Demyelination is a condition that occurs when there is a sudden loss of the protective covering of the nerve cells, called the myelin sheath. This can cause the transmission of nerve impulses from the spinal cord to the brain to stop (or slow down), resulting in neurological issues.
“Second possible situation could be a case of transverse myelitis which can also lead to demyelination. This happens when two or three segments of the spinal cord are affected and there is loss of transmission and sensation,” he added.
Sharing an experience he had with a patient, Dr Pavan said, “I had a similar experience with a patient affected by demyelination in the first week of October and. He had also become a quadruple and still hasn’t recovered despite the therapy.”
Paralysis within 20 minutes – Risk factors and treatment
Elaborating on the possibility of paralysis within a timeframe as short as 20 minutes, Dr Pai said, “Paralysis within 20 minutes is possible because whenever there is a swelling in the spinal cord, it can lead to paralysis and can cause severe damage to the spinal cord.”
He further talked about the risk factors and said, “It can happen to anyone. Sometimes there are antibodies such as MNO antibody and MOG antibody, that are generated against our own cells which can lead to this kind of a condition. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is another condition that can lead to paralysis.”
“There are usually no particular lifestyle factors that can contribute to this kind of condition. In complications such as anterior spinal artery syndrome, hypertension and diabetes could be a factor. However, the case of Darren looks like that of demyelination, a condition which usually does not have any risk factors,” Dr Pai added.
Shedding light on the treatment, Dr Pavan said, “Usually this condition is permanent but in some cases, it can be treated with steroids or plasma exchange It is always better to initiate the treatment as soon as possible.”
Dr Pavan Pai,
Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road