"Kearney Lawyer Stays Positive After Becoming Quadriplegic A Kearney lawyer hasn't been able to voluntarily move any of his limbs from his chest down or to care for himself since being involved in a minor crash. April 9, 2017, at 4:13 p.m. By KIM SCHMIDT, Kearney Hub KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) — Just one finger, a hand and an arm. That's all Jeff Wirth is asking for.
In the 13½ months since a minor crash, Wirth hasn't been able to voluntarily move any of his limbs from his chest down or to care for himself. He's a quadriplegic.
"One arm would be huge. Being able to drive a wheelchair, sign a check, change a channel, grab a phone — one hand would be nice. Anything. ... So far, nothing," he told the Hub on a recent visit.
Wirth, 55, is temporarily living at QLI Tri-Dimensional Rehab in Omaha where he has therapy and rehabilitation. A Kearney lawyer for 28 years, he has served 27 years as a deputy Buffalo County public defender and had been the public defender the last 10 years after being elected in 2006 to replace a retiring Gary Hogg.
Despite his disabilities, Wirth stays in touch with his office, doing what he can via email.
On Feb. 16, 2016, Wirth was driving to a meeting at the state Juvenile Probation Office when he bumped into a light pole in the parking lot at a low speed. The crash was so minor it didn't even dent his pickup, but the jolt was enough to cause a spinal stenosis he didn't know he had to bruise his spinal cord and paralyze him, Wirth said..."
I thought that too, at first, Sam. But further down the article says, "Years ago, Wirth had surgery on his spinal cord in his lower back. Within a month, he noticed slight numbness in his hands, which, over the years slowly got worse. Wirth thought the pain was from the surgery. Instead, it was stenosis on the spine, or calcium deposits on his upper back that was the culprit of his numbness. "The night before my accident, I said to the guys I bowled with, 'I can hardly hold onto this ball.' My fingers were so numb," he said. "But it was the stenosis that was putting pressure on my spinal cord."