Casey Lawrence was 19 years old when she suddenly had a life changing experience that young women never dream about. It happened when she was involved in a motor vehicle accident. After being airlifted from the scene, she spent the next nine days in a trauma unit with a T-4, T-5 spinal cord injury and multiple sprains and fractures to her upper extremities. Casey had complete paralysis of her lower body and legs.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I came here; I was scared and everyone here was older than me. They let my Mom stay with me so I wouldn’t be scared. I couldn’t do anything when I arrived. I was in a back brace and had problems trying to maintain my balance while sitting. I couldn’t bathe, dress or toilet myself. The nurses made me feel special by making me milkshakes and bringing me movies for my laptop. My birthday was a few days after I was admitted here and they let my family have a party for me.”
The nurses worked with her mother to teach her how to bathe and catheterize Casey. HealthSouth Treasure Coast Rehabilitation Hospital has a spinal cord program and the RN’s are certified rehabilitation nurses with specialty training to care for patients like Casey.
Physical therapy worked on transfers from the bed to the chair and utilized the AutoAmbulator™, a machine that is unique to HealthSouth. It is used for patients with gait disorders such as spinal cord, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. It’s purpose is to improve strength, balance and functional mobility.
Occupational therapy found activities that Casey enjoyed so she could work on her balance and fine motor skills.
“Everyone wouldn’t let me give up, they really made me push myself. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t come here.”
Casey is now independent with dressing and personal care. She can transfer in and out of the car and is in the process of getting back to her life. She just passed her driving test using hand controls and is waiting to have her mom’s car converted so she may drive. She is looking forward to the future and starting college.