Johnny: Perseverance and Inspiration
For Johnny, his Spaulding story began when he went into respiratory failure during a routine procedure before a planned surgery.
The complications were severe. Johnny spent weeks in critical care at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), intubated and on multiple antibiotics. With a developmental disability and lifelong history of musculoskeletal developmental problems that made him medically fragile, Johnny needed specialized care and advocacy during his rehabilitation. Spaulding Hospital Cambridge was there for him.
Creative, fun therapy approaches motivated Johnny in his recovery.
Johnny was in a fragile state — but built his strength daily at Spaulding. When it became apparent Johnny would need a specialized ventilator mask to support his oxygen levels overnight, his Spaulding pulmonologists and respiratory therapists dedicated their time and resources to finding him just the right fit for his unique anatomy and needs. It was a long process; but in the meantime, Johnny was able to have the heart valve repair operation he desperately needed.
“The perseverance of the Spaulding team to work with Johnny and his MGH doctors, find solutions, and get him to a much better place — that’s the success story,” says his devoted brother and caregiver, Phil.
Like many of our patients, Johnny and his family took comfort in the compassion and skill of the Spaulding care team — and in the resources available to him during his recovery.
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Phil also recalls above-and-beyond care from Sandra, who worked as a patient care associate when Johnny first arrived at Spaulding. “She spent extra time with Johnny, helping him with the self-care tasks that made him feel more like himself,” says Phil. “It was hugely motivational.” Phil and Johnny cheered as Sandra took her board exams and became a Registered Nurse, supported by Spaulding’s commitment to ongoing education and training the next generation of advanced clinicians.
Johnny’s entire care team found creative, individualized approaches to motivating him during recovery. Johnny is an avid sports fan who loves to compete (and to win!), so therapists devised games out of his exercises. “The Spaulding staff was so inspirational to Johnny,” says Phil. “They communicated the importance of working hard, but also made it fun for him.” Just two weeks after finally heading home, Johnny was up at bat with his Woburn Challenger Baseball team, a program for developmentally disabled youth and adults he has played in since the 1990s. He’s now focused on building his strength and endurance for the spring 2023 season.
Imagine the Possibilities
At a time when scientific advancements can help make the impossible possible, an investment in rehabilitation medicine has never been more necessary — or more promising.
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