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Patient Stories

As a national leader in rehabilitative care, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network helps patients find their strength every day. But it's the words and experiences of our patients that best describe what our services can really do.

Our patient stories provide a look inside the outstanding rehabilitative services available through our network of world-class providers. We invite you to read these compelling and unforgettable stories — and learn how our rehabilitative care has changed people's lives.

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  • Patient Story

    Tedy Bruschi's Stroke Story - Spaulding Rehab

    "I was there for Spaulding long before I knew I'd ever need them myself," Tedy says of his rehabilitation at Spaulding. "They are real champions. They made me whole again and got me back to the field." Long before he was ever a patient, Tedy Bruschi had visited patients at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, hailed their remarkable recoveries and signed autographs. But February 15, 2005, was different. Having just won his third Super Bowl and competed in his first Pro Bowl, Tedy Bruschi, the New England Patriots linebacker, developed a blood clot that caused him to suffer a mild stroke. His wife called 911, and Tedy was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital. The team at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital also sprang into action, working with trainers from the Patriots on Tedy's rehabilitation plan. In collaboration with the Patriots' staff, the Spaulding team developed a physical therapy plan for Tedy that required hard work, perseverance and total commitment from Tedy, his doctors and his therapists. His rehabilitation inspired fans who longed for Tedy's return to the defensive squad. But more importantly, it inspired thousands of stroke survivors and rehab patients who facing similar obstacles. Tedy went on to have one of his best seasons ever following

  • Patient Story

    Meet Robert Lewis, Jr. | A Spaulding Story of Strength

    COVID-19 survivor and Spaulding patient Robert Lewis, Jr. shares his journey: from diagnosis with the novel coronavirus through his rehabilitation at Spaulding Hospital Cambridge—and what it means to him to be back at work at the community outreach organization he founded in Boston. My COVID-19 Recovery—As Told by Robert Lewis, Jr. I’m not sure how I expected to feel when I turned 60 years old last spring, but I didn’t anticipate a trip to the emergency department. I certainly didn’t expect to be sedated, intubated, and wake up 12 days later. But on March 22—my 60th birthday— that’s what happened. It was the beginning of my COVID-19 journey. It was an intense and frightening time. When I was moved to Spaulding Hospital Cambridge for rehabilitation after three weeks of acute care, I had to relearn…everything: how to breathe without an oxygen tank; how to walk; how to touch my nose and tie my sneakers. I had to get my strength back. What struck me about Spaulding was the incredible treatment that I—and my family—received from everyone there, from the moment I arrived until I walked out just one week later. There’s a culture of love and compassion and excellence that radiates from every person. Trust

  • Patient Story

    Meet Lauren and Tracey: From Rehab to the Finish Line

    Spring 2023 Watch this special story of a mother and daughter who both underwent outpatient rehabilitation therapy with Spaulding, and recently achieved an incredible feat — running the Boston Marathon on Spaulding's Race for Rehab Team. Their journey is a testament to the power of healing and perseverance. Join us in celebrating their

  • Patient Story

    Meredith's Story - Paralysis - Spaulding Rehab

    On May 30, 2015, Meredith awoke from a haze of anesthesia to a new reality. She had undergone eight hours of extensive surgery during which several titanium rods, screws and a steel cage were implanted in her body to realign her spine. It was her 25th birthday. 24 hours earlier, Meredith was an active, independent woman who ran half-marathons, danced in a ballet company and volunteered as an EMT on a rescue squad in Vermont. She was helping friends move into a new apartment when a piano accidentally fell directly on top of her, paralyzing her from the waist down. Finding herself in an unfamiliar role - needing to be rescued, she managed to maintain her composure and figure out what she needed to do to get safely to the hospital. After spending a week in the surgical intensive care and inpatient units of the acute care hospital, Meredith was stable enough to be admitted to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to begin her journey of recovery. When Meredith first came to Spaulding, she was almost completely dependent on others. She couldn't roll over in bed, sit up, get dressed, stand or shower unassisted. She had minimal feeling in her legs. Meredith worked with many

  • Patient Story

    Meet Martha and the “Spaulding Sisters”

    The self-titled “Spaulding Sisters” made the most of 2020. The group of women met at Spaulding Boston over the past several years, bonding over their shared love of aquatic therapy. When the COVID-19 pandemic closed our community water fitness classes, the Sisters came together to support each other and their health in a whole new way. The ladies are avid participants in the Spaulding Adaptive Sports Program’s virtual classes (launched in response to the pandemic), “meeting” several times a week to exercise virtually together from the safety of their homes. They are among the more than 1,000 participants who have benefitted from virtual classes like yoga, boxing, exercise for stroke and TBI, dance with Parkinson’s, and more. In 2020, donations were used to pivot Spaulding adaptive sports programming to be entirely virtual—supporting the health and wellness of an even broader community, when so many were isolated and unable to participate in their regular fitness and community activities. Martha Starr, “Spaulding Sister,” patient, and volunteer, says the virtual programs have been a true lifesaver in 2020. And so have the Sisters’ weekly Friday Zoom calls to check in on one another. They share resources and coping strategies, discuss their conditions, and laugh together. Martha

  • Patient Story

    Conozca a Lola

    Read this story in English. Otoño 2021 Era la primera nevada de la temporada y Lola Remy estaba cómoda en casa bebiendo un chocolate caliente haitiano casero y con una lista de compras para hacer en la internet. Al final del día, ella, una abogada e instructora de acondicionamiento físico de 40 años estaría en el hospital sufriendo convulsiones por un derrame cerebral. Lola en terapia usando una máquina Lokomat. Después de seis convulsiones, Lola se despertó con un tubo de alimentación y un casco, le extrajeron una parte del cráneo durante una cirugía cerebral de emergencia. Necesitaría volver a aprender a tragar, hablar y caminar. Su primera prueba se produjo cuando salió de los cuidados intensivos para el Spaulding en Cambridge y se le pidieron que se sentara durante 20 minutos, lo que la fanática del acondicionamiento físico llamó de "lo más difícil que ya paso en su vida ". Lola hizo un excelente progreso en Cambridge y continuó mejorando al ser transferida a Spaulding Boston. Cuando finalmente llegó su fecha de alta, estaba emocionada pero aprensiva. El personal proporcionó sesiones virtuales con su familia para ayudar a todos a prepararse para el regreso de Lola a casa. “El personal de Spaulding es increíble”, dijo Lola.

  • Patient Story

    Lisa's Inpatient Rehab Story - Spaulding Rehabilitation

    Lisa Mazzola would be the first to tell you she shouldn't be here. On the night of June 8, 2004, a driver going the wrong way on a one-way street clipped the front wheel of her motorcycle at 40 mph. The impact ripped Lisa's helmet from her head. She was thrown to the pavement, tumbling and skidding until coming to rest under the car that hit her. "It's a miracle I'm alive. It's a miracle I can walk and talk," she says. Fortunately, an ambulance was behind Lisa. EMTs found a crumpled woman under the car. Her left arm and shoulder twisted around her body. Her hip was shattered. Her teeth were broken. Unseen, blood was starting to pool in her brain. Lisa Mazzola was dying. A little over a year later, Lisa was walking with only a slight limp and talking excitedly about getting back to work. Her story is one of faith, determination and courage, aided by the skill and patience of the team at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Cape and Islands - now Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod - that treated her over the next 16 months. She woke the morning of July 4, memory restored for the first time

  • Patient Story

    Meet Joe | A Spaulding Story of Strength

    As an aviator for the US Coast Guard, Joe Moncalieri, 32, the father of two young children, was doing what he loved most in the spring of 2016: riding his motorcycle along the rural roads straddling North Carolina’s strawberry fields. The driver of a passing car swiftly altered the trajectory of Joe’s ride with an un-signaled U-turn. Catapulted 30 feet into the air, Joe dropped to the ground—his sternum shattered, spleen ruptured, bowels torn, and all of his ribs and two vertebrae in his spine broken.  Following emergency surgery and eight weeks in a regional hospital's ICU, the Coast Guard gave Joe’s wife, a nurse, her choice of facility for Joe’s rehabilitation anywhere in the US. Well aware of Spaulding’s world-class reputation, she made her decision instantly.  “Spaulding is where I learned to start my life in a wheelchair,” Joe says. “It’s also where I came to understand that my life did not need to be limited by my wheelchair.”  Following Joe’s inpatient treatment, he participated in a in research study on the FES rowing machine in Spaulding’s ExPD program. As a lifelong exerciser, Joe was thrilled to be able, again, to work out hard enough to elevate and sustain a vigorous, aerobic

  • Patient Story

    Meet Ethan | A Spaulding Story of Strength

    Para leer esta historia en español, visite nuestra página en el Internet. Who was by your side when you achieved a major life goal? For Ethan Wang, it will be a community of family, friends, and caregivers cheering for him (virtually) as he walks at his Boston University graduation this year. It’s a significant milestone for Ethan, who sustained a spinal cord injury while studying abroad—paralyzing him from the neck down and derailing his junior year of college. In Bali in March 2019, Ethan was critically injured while swimming in the ocean. He needed immediate life-saving surgery, followed by a medical evacuation and more surgeries in Singapore, before he could return home to Massachusetts. Then came the long journey of rehabilitation. Our donor community has been with Ethan on this journey, too. Gifts to Spaulding provide resources and support to help patients like Ethan achieve their goals. “Our family’s main source of strength is the amazing support we have received,” says Ethan’s father, Willis. “There is so much strength in community, and that is what has helped us.” Paralysis caused by a spinal cord injury (SCI) is an intense, life-changing event. Ethan spent 148 days as an inpatient at Spaulding Boston, achieving a new physical milestone

  • Patient Story

    Meet Dylan | A Spaulding Story of Strength

    On December 28, 2010, life as Dylan and his family knew it would change forever. It was on this evening that Dylan was driving to a friend’s house when his car hit a patch of black ice, propelling him directly into a telephone pole. Dylan endured a tremendous amount of damage to his brain, causing him to slip into a vegetative state – a condition of wakeful unconsciousness. After a month of showing little improvement, Dylan’s doctors relayed the crushing news to his parents, Tracy and Steve, that he was likely to stay in this state for the rest of his life. Then, a beacon of hope emerged – Dr. Joseph Giacino, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network’s Director of Disorders of Consciousness Program, was called in to consult on Dylan’s case. After observing Dylan over time, he began to think his brain may just need more time to heal. Dylan began to show incremental signs of improvement, and after spending three months in the acute care hospital, he was transferred to the Pediatric Unit at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for rehabilitation.    “Now there’s evidence that if you do rehearsal of a particular behavior with a damaged brain, it may very well get better,” said