California teen suffers spinal cord injury from gunshot wound

California teen suffers spinal cord injury from gunshot wound

A California teen is paralyzed from the waist down after being struck by a stray bullet.

The 19-year-old girl suffered the spinal cord injury when she was sitting on the couch inside her home recently. Someone fired multiple shots in the street, and one of the bullets traveled through the wall of the house. It went through the girl’s arm and lodged in her spine. The girl’s brother called 911 as his stepfather applied pressure to the wound. Doctors told the girl’s family that she is paralyzed from the waist down.

The family is now grieving their daughter’s loss of function and hoping that she can recover enough movement to walk. The girl’s mother told news media that her daughter said she would rather be paralyzed than gone. Police have not found the shooter.

Spinal cord injuries are a common result of gunshot wounds. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, they are among the top three causes of spinal cord injuries for both men and women.

Regardless of how a spinal cord injury happens, victims of the injury face a long road to recovery. Some spinal cord injury victims can recover some or all of their lost function. For others, learning to live with their injuries is the only option. 

Source:, “Family says teen hit by stray bullet paralyzed from waist down,” Heather Holmes, Dec. 16, 2013


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