Author(s): Angel S
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Abstract A traumatic spinal cord injury affects the body to an extent that the patient requires the assistance of others to survive and recover. The rehabilitation phase puts the patient in a vulnerable position and involves a considerable amount of strength on the patient's part. The aim of this paper is to explore the vulnerability of the spinal cord patient and how this vulnerability connects to the necessary strength, as the patient struggles to survive the injury and get through the rehabilitation.The circumstances of 12 traumatic spinal cord-injured patients were observed in the rehabilitation unit and after discharge.A phenomenological-hermeneutic narrative approach applying Ricoeur's theory was used. Data were collected by field observation and interviews during the first 2 years after the spinal cord injury.The patient's strength during the rehabilitation was portrayed by their endurance and from their narratives of how they handled difficult situations. The patient's perception of vulnerability varied, and strength was mobilised as a response to the vulnerability to overcome the imbalance between demands and resources. Vulnerability should therefore refer to a person's experience of the situation rather than the person, as it may hinder the professionals' open, explorative approach towards the person.
This article was published in Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation