Erie native Sean F., 44, was setting up a tree stand on his property when he fell approximately 12 feet, breaking his neck. After being taken to the closest trauma center — UPMC Hamot — Sean had a six-hour procedure to surgically implant a cage inside his neck to stabilize his spine.
Sean was transferred to a local skilled nursing and inpatient rehabilitation facility to regain mobility after five weeks at UPMC Hamot. He worked on strength-building therapies, but the staff recommended that he move to a more rehab-intensive inpatient facility to regain mobility and movement in his arms. Family friends suggested the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute at UPMC Mercy to Sean and his wife, Lynnette.
“I was told that I would probably not walk again, but at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, I was able to work on strengthening my neck, arms, shoulders, and core,” Sean says. “I was having a lot of pain in my shoulders, and they attacked it very well.”
Sean uses a sip-n-puff power wheelchair, controlled by air pressure from inhaling and exhaling, to get around. He also is seeing increased mobility in his arms. After completing six weeks of therapy at UPMC Mercy, Sean continues to use some of the therapies at home. He also sees a physical therapist and an occupational therapist at home for a total of four hours every week.
“I’m not where I was before I fell, but my shoulders and core are getting stronger, and I even bought some of my own exercise equipment,” Sean says. “The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute was where I needed to be at that time to get back some movement. The therapy team did a wonderful job. I’m glad we chose UPMC Mercy.”