Suicide bombing has increased in the last decade, and causes death or injury to surrounding victims (often military). A recent study from a military hospital based in Pakistan has discovered an unusual pattern of spinal cord injury to victims of suicide bombing blasts. This pattern includes:
• Injury to the thoracic area of the spine, which could be because people who suffer an injury to the cervical area of the spine do not often survive the time it takes to evacuate a site and receive medical attention.
• Additional injuries to soft tissue, intestines, and bones as a result of flying parts of the bomb.
• Low rates of neurological improvement, probably because of multiple and complex injuries. Only half of the patients described in this study showed any neurological improvement.
The researchers felt that spinal cord injury resulting from suicide bombings is probably more frequent than we currently understand, and the lack of adequate spinal cord care in Pakistan may be of detriment to both military and civilian survivors.
Rathore FA, Ayub A, Farooq S, & New PW. Suicide bombing as an unusual cause of spinal cord injury: A case series from Pakistan. Spinal Cord. (August 2011).