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Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California visitor information.

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Spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injury

The physical medicine and rehabilitation team at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California is devoted to giving children with spinal cord injury comprehensive and compassionate care that will restore their ability, confidence and independence. Our commitment extends to advancing care through scientific and clinical research. Patients receive care from a multidisciplinary team uniquely qualified to care for the needs of the growing child and adolescent with a spinal cord injury. Board certified pediatric physiatrists, orthopaedic hand surgeons and spine surgeons serve the medical and surgical needs of children with spinal cord injury.

Spinal cord injury conditions treated include:

Spinal cord injury and transverse myelitis

  • Acute care, including surgical spine stabilization
  • Primary rehabilitation
  • Secondary rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injury and transverse myelitis
  • Upper extremity surgical reconstruction
  • Urologic surgical reconstruction

Medical innovation

With innovation comes independence. Gripping a pen, moving an arm and breathing independently can make all the difference in the life of a child with spinal cord injury. Surgeons at Shriners Hospital offer tendon transfers that restore functional use of upper extremities. Surgical implant of a phrenic nerve pacer has allowed severely injured children to breathe without a ventilator.

Collaborative approach to care

Patients and families can expect to benefit from the expertise of a multidisciplinary team that includes:

  • Advanced practice nurses
  • Care coordinators
  • Child life specialists
  • Dietitians
  • Hand surgeons
  • Kinesiologists
  • Neurologists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Orthopaedic surgeons
  • Pediatric orthopaedists
  • Pediatric physiatrists
  • Pediatricians
  • Physical therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Recreation therapists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Social workers
  • Speech pathologists
  • Spine surgeons
  • Teachers
  • Transition specialists
  • Urologists

A facility designed for children

Spinal cord injury care and rehabilitation is delivered in a hospital designed specifically to serve the medical and emotional needs of children. Patients participate in recreational activities with other children in bright play areas equipped with video games, craft centers and games that enhance the family-friendly environment of care. Recreation specialists help patients identify and engage in activities they enjoy. Patients are encouraged to attend sporting events, go to movies and participate in other community activities. Many patients participate in adaptive recreational sports, including skiing, tennis, baseball and more. Award-winning art programs give patients an opportunity to experiment with adaptive devices and encourage creative expression.

Designated Rehabilitation Facility

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California is designated by the State of California as a Rehabilitation Facility that meets all standards required by the Systems of Care Division of the California Children's Services (CCS). The Rehabilitation Facility designation is granted to those organizations that demonstrate excellent multidisciplinary care, including ongoing assessments, plans and documented follow-up for patients and families.

The medical team

Loren Davidson, M.D., Director of Spinal Cord Injury
Erica Daharsh, MSSW, LCSW, Case Manager

Scientific and clinical research

Approximately 12,000 cases of spinal cord injury are reported in the United States each year. Researchers at the Northern California Shriners Hospital hope to find a way to help children paralyzed by spinal cord injury and disease to walk again. While scientific investigators seek ways to repair the spinal cord, Dr. David Pleasure, director of research, develops novel therapies to prevent damage to spinal cord function caused by inflammation that may occur after immunizations and viral infections, or as a component of diseases such as multiple sclerosis.