Brian Ortner's spinal injury recovery fund

On Saturday July 20, 2019 the Wisconsin Rapids area was hit with severe storms that caused major damage throughout town.  My husband Brian Ortner is a lineman for the local telephone  company and was called out to work.  As I understand it, he was clearing debris off of telephone lines when the limb swung and hit him in the back.  Luckily the line he was trying to cut it off of kept the tree from completely pinning him to the ground or we most likely would have lost him.  He immediately could not feel his legs.  He was rushed to Marshfield by ambulance where we learned of his devastating injuries.  He has an unstable T8 (thoracic) burst fracture that severed his spinal cord.  He has a left femoral neck (hip) fracture, C6 (cervical) spinous process fracture, T9 & T10 transverse process fractures, left rib fractures 6-10, and the 7th right rib.  Currently he feels nothing from the chest down and that will not change.  The neurosurgeon told us that we are lucky that he is even alive.  People with that severe of injury usually do not make it to the hospital, which is what makes Brian's surgery so risky.  The bone of his spine is pressing on his aorta (the major blood vessel off your heart).  He went into surgery this morning around 10am to stabilize his spine.  We are told the surgery will take 8-10hrs.  With that surgery comes the risk of his paralysis moving up to affect his diaphragm.  If that is the case he will likely be sedated with a breathing tube for the next few days with the hope that the swelling would go down and he will be able to breath on his own again.  He will also have an NG tube in his nose.  The good news is they told us it is VERY unlikely that he would lose the use of his arms after this surgery.  I am so greatful for that!  It sounds like we will be here for the next 2-3 weeks and after that I need to try and get into a spinal cord injury rehab center.  So far we have been told Denver is the best one.  The reality of our situation is that our lives are forever changed from this moment on.  The home that we have lived in for the past 15yrs, where we brought our babies home to will no longer be a home we can have.  It is an old home that has 3 levels and too narrow of doorways for his wheelchair.  And the icing on the cake is that today (surgery day) is our son Bennett's 8th birthday.  This is not at all where we imagined we would be, but here we are.  And I am sure there are many things in the future we can not foresee.  Please pray for Brian today for him to make it out of this risky surgery safely, and pray for us all in the future as we learn to deal with this tragedy.  Thank you for all of the thoughts, prayers, and offers to help.  I don't like to ask for it, but we will need it.   -Amy
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Amy Olson Ortner
Vesper, WI

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