Message from the President

Home Sweet Home

by Loren Hamel, MD - President, Spectrum Health Lakeland | Jun 6, 2019

Mike Wilson loved his home in Buchanan. He spent a lot of free time taking walks downtown and at the nearby parks. But one morning as Mike tried to get out of bed, something didn’t feel right. And when he tried to move his leg, he fell between his bed and wall. Mike struggled to call for help and remained stuck for two hours before he was able to reach his cell phone and contact family.

Upon arriving at Mike’s house, his nephew and brother-in-law immediately called an ambulance which took him to Lakeland Hospital Niles. By the time he arrived at the emergency department, a team was ready and waiting for him. They knew that “time is brain” and a quick response from a stroke-certified hospital is critically important.

During those moments, Mike’s mother Jere already felt confident in our ability to care for her son.

She shared, “The moment he arrived at the hospital, and even on the way there, we knew Mike was in excellent hands. Due to a previous traumatic brain injury, Mike has metal plates in his skull, so the doctors couldn’t perform an MRI. This didn’t slow them down and it was amazing how fast they were able to get him the care he needed.”

Because of the complex situation, Mike was transferred to Lakeland Medical Center where he spent three days before moving to Lakeland Hospital Watervliet. There, Mike spent a month in the inpatient rehab program, working with a special team of therapists, nurses, doctors, and social workers trained to treat those who have had a stroke.

All along, Mike’s goal was to return home. And with the help of his care team he relearned daily tasks like dressing and getting in and out of bed. Mike’s dad Doug watched the entire team work exceptionally hard to help his son regain his independence.

“I truly believe Mike would be in a nursing home today if it wasn’t for the team’s dedication,” shared Doug. “At the start he couldn’t even lift his right arm or leg – it’s unbelievable how much progress he’s made since that day.”

Mike has since returned home where visiting caregivers, nurses, and therapists from Lakeland Homecare, plus ongoing outpatient rehab, continue to help him improve strength and mobility.

“My rehabilitation team gave me such great care,” said Mike. “I love my home and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I don’t think I would be here without them.”

Our teams are not only talented and dedicated. They are also specially certified in stroke. In fact, we just received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Gold Pulse achievement award, in recognition for our work with their quality improvement programs.

In other words, not only did our teams save Mike’s life but they also improved health and inspired hope. That’s our new mission and it truly is at the heart of what we do.

It’s not very often that a patient’s journey takes them to all three of our hospitals in such a short amount of time. But in Mike’s situation, I can say “mission accomplished” to so many of you who gave Mike the care and compassion he needed to survive his stroke and regain the ability to return to the place he loves most—home sweet home.

Dr Hamel signature

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© Spectrum Health Lakeland 2019