Charles O.

Charles O.

Charles Ortega's story goes back to one November day when he suffered a fall. He sought treatment at a local hospital. There, tests revealed that Charles, 74, suffered from osteomyelitis of the lumbar spine and left wrist. Osteomyelitis is an inflammation of the bone caused by infection. Doctors placed Charles on antibiotic therapy to treat his osteomyelitis.

Four months later, Charles found himself back in the hospital. Experiencing shortness of breath and a fever of 103, Charles went to the ER. The infection in Charles' spine was wreaking havoc on his body. He had contracted MRSA, which led to sepsis. Charles transferred to the ICU for treatment of septic shock, anemia, hypotension, and a urinary tract infection. A few days later, surgeons performed a laminectomy. This procedure involved removing a part of Charles' vertebral bone to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.

Charles stabilized and began recovering, but experienced pain in his left arm and shoulder after surgery. Charles described the pain as "throbbing," made worse by movement. But pain management techniques were implemented and his recovery progressed. Soon, he transferred to Highlands Rehabilitation Hospital for inpatient rehabilitation.

At Highlands, Charles worked toward being able to return home safely. This involved addressing impaired mobility, functional status, and activities of daily living. It also involved continued pain management.

With the support of the clinical staff, Charles made great progress. His pain came down to a "two out of ten" without any numbness or tingling. Charles improved across-the-board, enabling him to return home safely with his family.

"He couldn't even go to the restroom, now he is walking with a cane," said his daughter, Ana.

"I can't express enough gratitude for my dad," Ana continued. "All the staff knows us, and they are awesome. They do one-on-one, and rehab is intense. As long as the patient is willing, they push you. They did help a lot! I'm so glad our specialist doctor (Dr. Pierri) was allowed to go in and round. I have no words to express my gratitude to Katelynn (Charles' therapist) and Steve [Alwine, CEO]. Steve was amazing following up with my dad!"

Charles is doing great at home with his family and continues his recovery through outpatient therapy at Highlands.