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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Young father defies the odds after spinal cord injury

April 22, 2020

On April 19, 2019, on a familiar gravel road near his hometown of Hillsboro, Kansas, Eric Bartel sustained an incomplete spinal cord injury a motor vehicle accident that would prove life-changing. The doctors at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis in Wichita told Eric that he may never walk again, but the father of three young boys remained positive and determined.

Eric and his wife Danielle chose Madonna’s Lincoln Campus, home to the CARF-accredited Spinal Cord System of Care for his rehabilitation. It was four hours from their home, but they knew the experts at Madonna would give Eric his best chance for recovery. He spent eight weeks relearning to sit up, eat and perform self-care activities like brushing his teeth. Therapists utilized the Lokomat, a robotic-assistive treadmill, to repeat steps over and over and help his spinal cord re-route signals to his legs. Inpatient therapy concluded and the transition into outpatient care was seamless as it took place at Madonna’s Main Campus location of TherapyPlus. Many of the therapists who helped Eric during his inpatient stay stopped to check in on his progress and wish their outgoing and friendly patient well.

Last August, supported only by a cane, Eric walked to his car and began his journey home. He has returned to work and church responsibilities and enjoys playing and dogpiling with his active sons. Eric remains active outdoors and is currently training for a 5K walk.

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