The Institut Guttmann is the result of the tenacity and effort of Mr Guillermo González Gilbey (1926-1987) who, in 1958, was in a traffic accident that left him a quadriplegic.
After personally experiencing the lack of appropriate medical and rehabilitative care in our country, he travelled to England to receive treatment. There, thanks to the techniques developed by Dr Ludwig Guttmann, he proved that it was possible to achieve the degree of rehabilitation required to recover an active and successful life despite severe physical limitations. Upon returning to Barcelona, he promoted the creation of a specialised hospital where other people with spinal cord injury could receive the same specialised rehabilitative care in Barcelona.
Because of his enthusiasm and efforts, on 27 November 1965, Spain's first hospital dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of people affected by spinal cord injury opened in Barcelona. Located in the neighbourhood of La Sagrera, the new hospital was named in honour of Dr Guttmann.
Dr Miquel Sarrias Domingo (1930-2002), a surgeon trained in Oxford and an apprentice of Dr Guttmann, became director of the Institut Guttmann and remained until he retired in 2000, contributing to the establishment of the unique institutional culture, based on rigorous care and compassion.
In 1999 the Guttmann University Institute of Neurorehabilitation was created. The University Institute is attached to the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), and it develops teaching and research aspects on neurorehabilitation, technology applied to disability and knowledge of clinical practice. Then, in 2002, in order to meet growing demand and adapt to new needs, the new hospital was opened in Badalona. The building measured more than 17,000 m2 and was specially designed and equipped for its function. The work was funded in part by the Fundación ONCE and the Servei Català de la Salut (Catalan Health Service).