Inpatient Rehab Wall of Fame: George Hawthorne

George Hawthorne was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in another state. He suffered a spinal cord injury which affected not only his legs, but his arms as well. Hawthorne was taken to Memphis, Tennessee for his initial medical care. He was there for approximately five weeks and then sent to a skilled nursing facility in Blytheville, Arkansas. Due to the fact that his injuries were so extensive, he was unable to provide his own care safely at home. After approximately two months of rehab in that setting, he was sent home. Hawthorne had limited availability of caregivers at home and, due to his injuries, he was unable to care for himself adequately at home. Hawthorne was referred to Heidi Hunter, MD, physiatrist and Saint Francis Inpatient Rehabilitation Medical Director. Hunter knew what questions to ask, based on the severity of Hawthorne’s injuries. She was able to identify that he would benefit greatly from a short-term stay on the Inpatient Rehabilitation unit at Saint Francis. With specialty nursing care, intensive physical and occupational therapy, she knew that Hawthorne had a chance at a better quality of life and could be successful at home.

Hawthorne came to the inpatient rehab unit, unable to care for himself. Things such as getting dressed, bathing himself and general self-care were difficult. He was unable to safely transfer and get around in his home without assistance. The weakness in his arms and legs limited his ability to use them. As a result, he also had decreased coordination of both hands, making things that required use of his hands difficult. Due to the inability to receive therapy at home or in an outpatient setting, he lacked the flexibility of his arms and legs to allow him to get from one surface to another safely, or even to get around in a wheelchair.

Hawthorne worked hard in therapy daily and maintained a positive and outgoing attitude. He set the bar high during his time on Inpatient Rehab, always reaching for his goals and showing ambition. He was creative with the rehab team and would always try to do a little more in each session.

His determination was not just within himself; Hawthorne was both positive and encouraging to the other patients in therapy. Hawthorne spent about one month at the Saint Francis Inpatient Rehabilitation unit working toward his goals. Hawthorne is now continuing to push himself in outpatient therapy. Even though his recovery may have been slower than he anticipated, Hawthorne has continued to have a positive attitude throughout the hard work and dedication required day in and day out. He visits frequently to share his progress and remind us that he is not done reaching for his long-term goals of walking without a device and returning to work.