RUSK INSTITUTE OF REHABILITATION MEDICINE
the Whole Story
REHABILITATION THAT FOCUSES ON THE WHOLE PERSON
LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN
By Steven R. Flanagan, MD
Howard A. Rusk Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine
Chair of Rehabilitation Medicine and Medical Director of Rusk
I am pleased to share with you this
latest edition of The Whole Story,
offering insight into the ongoing
accomplishments and stories of
our patients, programs, faculty and
staff. This is an especially timely
publication, in light of the significant
and exciting developments underway
We have already begun our
expansion to new, state-of-the art
facilities as part of NYU Langone
Medical Center’s ambitious campus
transformation project, and this will continue over the course of the next year. As
part of this plan, Rusk will play an increasingly important role, providing world-class
rehabilitation care at multiple locations throughout the medical center. Moving
forward, we will be even more accessible to our patients – providing high-quality
rehabilitation where and when they need it. And “Rusk”—a name that has been
synonymous with the highest quality rehabilitation care for more than six decades—
will continue to represent our rehabilitation services as we move into facilities that
better reflect the outstanding talent and dedication of our faculty and staff.
For its entire history, Rusk has offered innovative care for the whole person,
not just their illness or disability, but also their emotional, psychological and
social needs; the upcoming transformation puts us on the path towards a
very bright future. And nowhere can you find better evidence of this forward
momentum than in the wealth of stories emerging from our programs about
how Rusk Rehabilitation impacts the lives of individuals with disabilities.
“Rusk”—a name that has been synonymous with the highest
quality rehabilitation care for more than six decades—will
continue to represent our rehabilitation services as we move
into facilities that better reflect the outstanding talent and
dedication of our faculty and staff.
In this issue of The Whole Story, you will read how Rusk works with people
with very diverse injuries and illnesses, impacting their ability to walk, think,
work and even smile. You’ll learn how we support individuals with cardiac
disease though an innovative program in association with the Visiting Nurse
Service of New York. And, in the spirit of Howard A. Rusk and his protégée,
Mathew Lee, both former chairs of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU School of
Medicine, you will understand that Rusk Rehabilitation is not limited to New
York, or even the United States, but reaches over the vastness of oceans and
cultures, to China and beyond.
I look forward to sharing more about our new locations, the far-reaching
impact of Rusk Rehabilitation, and the stories that exemplify the world-class
caring abilities of our staff. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading this latest
set of stories that highlight how dedicated we are, at Rusk, to improving the
lives of individuals with disabilities—yesterday, today and tomorrow.
THE LONG RUN: REWARDS FOR A YOUNG
By Carie Sumida, PT, DPT, PCS, Supervisor, Pediatric Physical Therapy
Matthew Bailey had sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident on April 9,
2006. He suffered a fractured L1 (lumbar) vertebra that required surgical fusion.
He was 17 years old at the time and had been traveling with four other friends in
a Land Rover that rolled over. One friend passed away and three walked away
unscathed. The very different fates of his friends left Matt with mixed emotions,
feeling fortunate to have survived but unlucky that he was now paraplegic.
When Matt was first admitted to Rusk’s Inpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit
on April 18, 2006, he presented with textbook paraplegia. He lacked the ability
to move his legs, he lacked trunk control that would allow him to sit at the edge
of the bed, and he lacked the ability to stay upright for more than a few seconds
before his blood pressure would fall.
Nonetheless, from my first encounter with Matt, as his assigned physical
therapist, I saw a determined “never give up” attitude which translated into
long physical therapy sessions and mastery of all of his bed mobility, advanced
transfer skills, and household ambulation skills using stance control braces within
several weeks. It was my great fortune to work with an extremely motivated,
hard-working individual who trusted me wholeheartedly and unfailingly
completed every activity he was asked to perform during his inpatient stay.
Matt completed the five-mile Achilles Hope and Possibilities
race in Central Park on his own two legs. He walked the entire five
miles, negotiating the hills with the use of carbon fiber toe off
braces and a single-point cane.
Spinal cord injury rehabilitation spans the continuum of healthcare from the
emergency room to the patient’s home and community. The rehabilitation process
requires considerable knowledge and skill acquisition on the part of the patient,
which inherently demands a tremendous amount of motivation as patients learn
to use the functional muscles that remain to compensate for what was lost.
In the world of pediatric rehabilitation this can be even more challenging since
consideration must be given to the developing psyche of a minor, as well as to the
critical role played by family. Matt was a model patient. He gave 110% during
every session, performed extra exercises on his own, and never complained or
hesitated to perform any task.