William W. woke up one morning feeling extreme pain in his legs, leaving him unable to walk.

After physicians discovered massive internal bleeding, William was transported by air to UPMC Presbyterian, where he underwent life-saving surgery to amputate his legs. After spending time at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, William is now able to walk with the support of prosthetics. “I was extremely impressed. I believe that is the reason where I am today at this point in my recovery. I was provided with the doctors that I needed.”

Thomas A. didn’t expect that he wouldn’t be able to walk after a snowboarding accident left him with a severe spinal cord injury.

Spending nearly five weeks at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, Thomas worked on the basics of getting around in a wheelchair and gaining more strength in his arms with the hope that he’ll be able to drive his new car to work in the future. “Everybody that I worked with there was always willing to offer any additional help beyond what was required.” In the meantime, Thomas also has worked towards continuing his passion of kayaking, which requires upper-body strength and endurance.

After suffering back and leg pain for much of her life, Susan S. found herself unable to move because of a decompression and fusion in one of her vertebra and had to undergo back surgery.

After surgery, she began intensive inpatient therapy at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, where she began to see improvements. “We're all individuals, with individual problems and individual needs, and they meet those needs.” Susan continued her therapy for six weeks at the Rehabilitation Institute’s outpatient partner, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services, and now continues her specialized exercise program at home. With the goal of returning to work in the near future, Susan says she feels blessed and remains keenly aware of the professional care she received.

After a stroke left the left side of her body paralyzed, Florence S. came to the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute for stroke rehabilitation.

Now continuing to recover back at home with her family, Florence says she actually misses rehab and spending the time with her physicians. Her time spent at the Rehabilitation Institute helped her learn how to walk again, which is a key component of her successful recovery. “Everyone was just so kind, and I really loved working with them every day. They were always really good to me. And the morale there is really good, too.”

In June of 2007, Paul M. suffered a stroke, landing him in the hospital for 54 days, where he went from the intensive care unit directly to the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute.

Despite his concern about the sometimes slow recovery process after a stroke, Paul continues to see improvements, and attributes them to his positive lifestyle. “From the doctors to the maintenance people, I couldn't have been treated any better, and I was in very bad shape. I couldn't even stand up, and they worked me very hard and were very positive and encouraged me. I have, for the most part, recovered very well now, and I owe it all to UPMC.” Today, Paul works as a volunteer on the coaching staff for the Seton Hill basketball team and continues to attend games and be involved with the team.

Confidence is what continues to bring Chelsi F. back to the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute.

Whether by e-mail or an in-person appointment, Chelsi remains in contact with her doctor, who specializes in Spina Bifida, because he “really has confidence in what he's talking about, and it makes me feel much more confident in the whole thing.” With the help, knowledge, and expertise of her doctor, Chelsi competes nationally and internationally in powerlifting competitions. She has traveled to destinations such as Malaysia for the Paralympic World Games, and is planning a trip to Guadalajara to take part in the Parapan American Games.

Rather than starting the day with his normal routine, Paul C. experienced trouble getting out of bed one morning and was unable to move the entire left side of his body.

After determining the magnitude of his stroke, Paul was eventually flown from a local hospital to UPMC Presbyterian, where he underwent rigorous surgeries to eliminate his blood clot, before moving to the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute. Now, Paul is back to the active lifestyle he’s always enjoyed, returning to work less than one month after his stroke. He’s also resumed coaching his children in many sports and playing golf.

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