ATLANTA — Rusty Begnaud can expect between four to eight weeks of Rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center once he is stabilized and he is released from the catastrophic care hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
Begnaud, 25, was admitted to the Shepherd Center’s ICU for evaluation, care and observation on Monday when he was flown from Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Fla., where he had been since fracturing his spinal column on June 20 after mistakenly diving into the shallow end of a swimming pool.
According to Shepherd Center public relations manager Larry Bowie, the medical and rehabilitative teams for patients at the center typically include an attending physician, nurse, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, respiratory therapist, speech language pathologist, recreation therapist, peer support specialist, nutritionist and psychologist.
Depending on the patient’s progress, the typical length of stay while undergoing rehabilitation in the center’s Spinal Cord Injury Program is 4-8 weeks.
On Friday, Begnaud had the halo that stabilized his neck removed in favor of a semi-soft collar, which allows for easier movement once he begins rehab, the Begnaud family reported on its page at the Carepages website (www.carepages.com).
Those interested may keep up with his progress by signing on at the website (or signing up if a first-time visitor) and entering the name “rustybegnaud” at the “Visit a CarePage” link.
Begnaud will remain in ICU while he is on a Ventilator. The ventilator is being used because his type of injury is usually accompanied by some weakness in the respiration system, and because he had some fluid in his lungs.
Begnaud was a rookie pitcher for the Pensacola Pelicans minor league baseball team, and was injured at a teammate’s home following a day game in which Begnaud earned his sixth win of the season.
His parents, Calvin and Patricia Begnaud, have settled into an apartment provided by the Shepherd Center near the hospital, a press release from the Pelicans noted. His family reports he is currently testing out his new wheelchair, sitting for at least two hours a day in it, and is allowed visitors on a regular basis, from 10 a.m.-noon, 2-4 p.m. and 7:30-9 p.m. during his stay in the ICU.
Once he is moved to a regular room, the times will change to 4-9 p.m. from Monday through Friday, most of the day Saturday and all day Sunday.
The Shepherd Center, a not-for-profit 250,000 square-foot, 100-bed facility, is recognized as a leading spinal care center in the United States.
People may send e-mails to Rusty Begnaud through the Shepherd Center’s website (www.shepherd.org) by clicking on the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the home page, then on the “How to Reach a Patient” link on the left side. Another link allows those interest to e-mail a patient, and volunteers print out and deliver those messages every weekday.
Regular mail may be sent to him at Rusty Begnaud, The Shepherd Center, c/o Terry Dockery, 2020 Peachtree Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30309-1465.
By Chris Landry The Daily Iberian