Moving Forward Again


“I had a spinal cord injury back in 2008,” recalls John Berkey. “I woke up one day with my left leg paralyzed.” Because the onset of his paralysis was so sudden and unexplained, John was rushed to the emergency room at his local hospital. “I went to the ER, they did emergency surgery to repair it, but unfortunately there were complications,” he explains. “I actually ended up being paralyzed from the waist down. I was sent to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital for their spinal cord rehab program.”

Spinal cord injury program

John was fortunate that he was able to receive care at HealthSouth, as HealthSouth specializes in rehabilitation from spinal cord injuries. “HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital received Joint Commission Disease-Specific Certification in Spinal Cord Injury in 2009,” notes Anita Gerbig, PTA. “We also have Disease-Specific Certification for Stroke and Hip Fracture. “We have an interdisciplinary team of physicians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and nurses,” adds Anita. “Our goal is to get as many patients as we can through rehabilitation and able to return to the community safely.” In John’s case, physical and occupational therapy provided the bulk of his care. The unique neurotechnology at HealthSouth offered John quality of life outcomes he would not have achieved elsewhere. Use of the body weight-supported treadmill with robotics (AutoAmbulator) was a stepping stone in his path to walk again. This technology allowed him to experience upright posture and the movements of walking safely and easily in his recovery. “When he came to us, John was dependent for everything as far as taking care of himself: grooming, dressing, getting in and out of bed, and any type of moving,” says Anita. “When he was discharged from care, he was able to transfer himself in and out of bed, get himself dressed, and do all of his self-care activities on his own. John’s recovery was a miracle.”

Exceptional care

John thanks the entire staff of HealthSouth for their help, noting that his progress was greater than that of many patients with similar paralysis injuries. John now attends the monthly meetings of the Sarasota Spinal Cord Support Group, which is held at HealthSouth the third Thursday of each month. This affords John continued support, education and community involvement. John adds that the positive attitude of the staff helped him with his own acceptance of his injury and the willingness to move forward.

Source: Florida HealthCare News

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