Neuroscience Institute Helps Man to Walk Again

By Deidre Baker, QC Times

When 25-year-old Russell Evans arrived at Genesis Medical Center two months ago, he was motionless, lying in a hospital bed.

That's a sharp contrast to the Evans who showed up all smiles Wednesday, walking down a corridor at Genesis Medical Center-West Central Park Avenue in Davenport.

Russell Evans

It's one example of what to expect from the new Neuroscience Institute at Genesis in a partnership with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics that was announced Wednesday.

Evans was involved in a one-vehicle accident in late July. He was riding in a truck that rolled on a gravel road, throwing him from the vehicle and injuring his spine in the neck and lower back areas. 

He was treated at University Hospitals. Shortly after arriving in the emergency department, his parents were asked to enroll him in a neurological research study on a new drug that helps to stabilize the spinal cord after a traumatic injury.

The drug is safer than an alternative treatment that involves the use of stem cells, said Dr. Conway Chin, who oversees the project at Genesis.

The study involves Genesis as well as the University of Iowa.

Chin also supervises Evans' care in Davenport, which involves nurses and therapists who work especially to help Evans regain movement on his right side.

That Evans has recovered so much from a traumatic spinal injury is unusual, Chin said. 

The rehabilitation unit at Genesis that is helping Evans is an example of how the hospital is working with specialists from the University of Iowa. That relationship is taking a step ahead with the Neuroscience Institute, officials said.

Going forward, Genesis will offer the services of two neurosurgeons to the Quad-Cities, including Dr. Todd Ridenour, who has practiced in Davenport since the 1990s, and Dr. Brian Walsh, who previously worked at the University of Iowa and will move his practice to Davenport.

For his part, Walsh characterized the partnership as "exciting" and said that local care will be provided in a more timely manner.

Ridenour called the Genesis rehabilitation unit "the best in the Midwest" and said he expects the care services to evolve over the next few months.

"This is an exciting time for us," he added.

The new institute comes eight years after the hospital formed the Genesis Cancer Care Institute, also located at the West Central Park Avenue location.

Genesis currently partners with the University of Iowa on its neonatal intensive-care unit, which is located at its hospital on East Rusholme Street in Davenport. It also is partnering on pediatric specialty services, said Ken Croken, the vice president of corporate communications at Genesis.

Croken hailed the relationship between the two health providers and also pointed out the benefits to people such as Evans, who lives in Bloomfield, Iowa, near the Missouri border.

"He's now walking because of these available services," Croken added.

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