Denver’s Craig Hospital, a nationally known and respected hospital,
now caring for spinal cord and brain- injured patients, was founded by
Frank Craig in Lakewood, CO in 1907 for the treatment of indigent men
with tuberculosis. Its initial name was “Tent Colony of Brotherly
Love.” In 1909, the name was changed to Craig Colony in memory of
In 1955, with the decline of tuberculosis, the facility started treating multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, polio and spinal cord injuries. Within two years, with a new medical director, Dr. John Young, Craig began shifting its focus exclusively to spinal cord and brain injuries. Craig officially became known as “Craig Rehabilitation Center.” In 1966, the name became “Craig Rehabilitation Hospital” Dr. Young is considered the founder of modern Craig.
In 1969, Craig moved from Lakewood to Denver and built an 80-bed rehabilitation hospital on the ground of Swedish Hospital. The two were connected by a tunnel. By 1970, Craig began an in-house neurosurgical program.
1974 saw the opening of a shared Neurotrauma Unit at Swedish Hospital, designed by Dr. Harry R. Hahn. It was one of the first models of its kind. Finally, in 1975, Craig became “Craig Hospital.”
The Traumatic Injury Team was created distinct from the Spinal Cord Injury Teams under the direction of Dr. Hahn ad was soon thereafter intensely developed by Dr. Mark Cilo. In 1978, “Pete” Peterson, M.D. published a leading text, “The Management of High Quadriplegia” in 1989.
In 1980, Craig Hospital staff was instrumental in the creation and early development of the Colorado Head Injury Foundation, now known as the Brain Injury Association of Colorado. In 1983, Craig expanded by 63,000 square feet, which included a large gymnasium, an outpatient clinic, a media studio, therapy areas and department offices.
In 1989, U.S. News and World Report began ranking hospitals. Craig was ranked in the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the U.S. Craig physicians and staff are widely sought after for presentations and publications, averaging 75 professional presentations a year and publishing 20-25 articles and book chapter per year.
Craig has received numerous prestigious awards over the years for its outstanding medical and support staff and excellent facilities.
Craig has treated more than 27,000 patients since 1956, more than any other
single facility in the U.S. Craig’s spinal cord injury rehabilitation
and traumatic brain rehabilitation clinics are designated by the U.S.
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research as Model
System Centers. Patients rehabilitated at Craig achieve higher levels
of return to home, independence and return to school or work because Craig’s
approach addresses the whole person in all aspects of life.
In 2008, patients came to Craig from 47 states and several foreign countries to take advantage of its expertise, experience, depth of resources, and caring environment.
For more than two decades my law firm has represented clients who were patients at Craig Hospital. Ninety-nine percent of these clients have suffered debilitating brain injuries and paralyzing spinal cord injuries. Without a single exception, each of these clients received improved futures because of the skillful care at Craig. I remember my first case involving a Craig patient. Richard C. was a paraplegic as a result of a Jeep CJ-5 vehicle rollover. He and his wife, Holly C., epitomized courage during their litigation against the manufacturer of this highly dangerous utility vehicle. Not only that, with the assistance of Craig’s skillful doctors, nurses and rehabilitation specialists, they made sure that Richard completed his studies for an engineering degree. He later went on to a successful career as an engineer. This would never have been possible without the help of the folks at Craig. Richard C.’s litigation, as well as litigation by later Craig patients against dangerous SUVs resulted in some of these vehicles being discontinued. Thus, American consumers also received some benefit from Richard and Holly’s determination.
There are dozens of other stories like Richard and Holly’s in my practice. Each of these stories has a similar thread, namely, better post-accident lives because of Craig Hospital.
[Sources: Craig's Website, "Highlights of a Successful History," and "Welcome to Craig Hospital."]