Brain & Spinal Cord Injuries

If you or a loved one experiences a life-threatening brain or spine injury, you want the best care available, and you want it fast. Indeed, patients who receive medical care within the first few hours following a traumatic injury are more likely to survive. Indiana University Health Neuroscience provides exceptional trauma care from board-certified trauma surgeons and neurosurgeons. Experienced trauma specialists can immediately assess and stabilize people with critical injuries, while neurosurgeons are available 24 hours a day to perform lifesaving surgery, and monitor brain pressure and swelling.

Home to one of only two Level I Adult Trauma Centers in the state and the only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center in Indiana, Indiana University Health is the statewide choice for life-threatening brain and spine injuries.

What It Means To Be a Level I Trauma Center

With at least 1,200 trauma patients admitted annually, the Level I designation means that Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital and Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health have a dedicated trauma surgeon available 24 hours a day, as well as:

  • Neurosurgeon, orthopedic, emergency physician and intensivist liaisons
  • Continuous neuro-trauma care available for traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Continuous physician coverage in the ED and ICUs for critically ill patients
  • Specialized monitoring equipment available, including intracranial pressure monitoring
  • Rehabilitation services available during at least the acute phase of care


Through Indiana University Health LifeLine, IU Health Neuroscience gives critically-injured people the best chance at survival. IU Health LifeLine is a 24-hour critical care transport service that uses ambulances, helicopters and planes to quickly get patients to one of the IU Health trauma centers. All IU Health LifeLine vehicles are staffed by a team of critical-care specialists and feature the most advanced on-board technology for improved patient safety and survival rates. 

From the moment a patient is picked up for transport to the hospital, through assessment, surgery, hospitalization and rehabilitation, IU Health Neuroscience has the expertise to help patients fully recover. Our expert physicians provide around-the-clock monitoring for people with life-threatening brain and spine conditions. 

Shawna’s Story

After a devastating car crash, 19-year-old Shawna was left a C7 quadriplegic. Her spinal cord injury was so extensive it also caused severe muscle spasms that left her emotionally and physically drained. Today, more than four years later, things are much better, thanks to a life-changing neurosurgery at IU Health Methodist Hospital. Neurosurgeons at IU Health implanted a Medtronic ITB pump that delivers medication directly to her spinal cord. The medicine has helped restore her muscle balance, giving her full use of her arms, and allowing her to sit up, bend and move in her wheelchair. Shawna's improvement is so dramatic she is now able to transfer from her wheelchair to a car with relative ease—something she thought would never be possible.