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Published on January 28, 2010

RIC Extends World-Class Care to Severely Injured Haiti Earthquake Survivors

CHICAGO – The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), the nation's #1 rehabilitation hospital, is working in collaboration with Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) and Northwestern University's Global Health Initiative to extend its collection of world-class care to care for severely injured survivors of the Haiti earthquake with spinal cord injuries. View about this collaborative effort on WLS ABC Ch. 7.

It took 12 hours to transport two Haitian earthquake victims in need of urgent spinal cord care out of Port Au Prince to Chicago where they will undergo extensive acute intervention at Northwestern Memorial Hospital followed by rehabilitation care at RIC’s Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program. RIC’s program, the Midwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Care System, is led by David Chen, MD, the medical director of both the acute and rehabilitation programs. Together, they are one of 14 model spinal cord injury systems of care in the world that carries this federal designation granted by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

The patients lay, waiting for care for 12 days on their backs and unable to move beneath the tent cover of a make-shift field clinic after spine-crushing injuries rendered them both paralyzed following Haiti’s devastating earthquake. Northwestern-trained surgeon Daniel Ivankovich, MD, who specializes in Orthopaedic trauma, made it his mission to try to save these individuals and other spinal cord injured patients he has treated since arriving in Haiti. He knew the intervention of a specialized center, like that of NMH and RIC, would save their lives and give them the medical attention necessary to begin to piece their lives together following this tragedy.

RIC and Northwestern Memorial are working together to welcome the patients and families. NMH is making arrangements for meal accommodations and lodging for families of the patients to stay in nearby hotels as their loved ones recover and RIC has obtained translation services from Healthcare Language Services which is donating all necessary interpreting services to the patients while they receive care in Chicago.

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is the nation’s #1 ranked provider of comprehensive physical medicine and rehabilitation care to patients from around the world and is the leader in research and development of the cutting-edge treatments and technologies in its field.  Through aggressive medical protocols, RIC guides the patient care process toward a better outcome – involving repair, regeneration and recovery of neurological and bone/joint function. 

RIC holds an unparalleled market distinction with a record six federal research designations awarded and funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Education’s National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the areas of spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, stroke, neurological rehabilitation, outcomes research and rehabilitation engineering research.  RIC operates its 165-bed, flagship hospital in downtown Chicago, as well as a network of 30 sites of care distributed throughout the Midwestern region, through which it delivers inpatient, day rehabilitation and outpatient services. 

Founded in 1954, RIC has been designated the “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991.  RIC sets the standard of care in the post-acute care market through its innovative applied research and discovery programs, particularly in the areas of neuroscience, bionic medicine, musculoskeletal medicine and technology transfer.

About Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of the country’s premier academic medical centers and is the primary teaching hospital of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.  Along with its Prentice Women’s Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry, the hospital comprises 854 beds, 1,603 affiliated physicians and 7,144 employees.  Northwestern Memorial is recognized for providing exemplary patient care and state-of-the art advancements in the areas of cardiovascular care; women’s health; oncology; neurology and neurosurgery; solid organ and soft tissue transplants and orthopaedics.

Northwestern Memorial possesses nursing Magnet Status, the nation’s highest recognition for patient care and nursing excellence, and it is listed in 11 clinical specialties in U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Hospitals” guide. For 10 years running, it has been rated among the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” guide by Working Mother magazine. The hospital is a recipient of the prestigious National Quality Health Care Award and has been chosen by Chicagoans as the Consumer Choice according to the National Research Corporation’s annual survey for 11 years.