Richard B.

Richard B.

Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain brought 66-year-old Richard Berndt to Mercy San Juan Medical Center. An abdominal CT scan showed ischemic colitis and Richard had become septic. Ischemic colitis is a painful condition that occurs when blood flow to the large intestine is reduced, restricting proper oxygenation. Richard underwent an initial surgery and given a diverting colostomy, a wound vac, PEG tube for nutrition, and intubated for respiratory failure. Two more surgeries were required on Richard's abdomen, as well. Unable to wean from the ventilator, he underwent a tracheostomy.

Richard had gone through a lot but was heading for an incredible turnaround.

To wean from the ventilator and address his complex medical needs, Richard transferred to Vibra Hospital of Sacramento. The interdisciplinary team got to work immediately.

Speech therapy and dietary began working toward removing Richard from his 24-hour feeding tube. He moved to a modified texture diet, supported by continuous tube feeding to ensure adequate nutrition. Richard learned compensatory strategies for swallowing safely and worked on strengthening exercises with his speech therapist. As his strength improved, so did his oral intake. Soon, Richard's tube feeding was discontinued and he advanced to a diet of soft, chopped foods and thin liquids.

Wound care faithfully followed Richard upon admission. He arrived with a midline surgical wound and a wound in his left lower quadrant. His surgical wound healed beautifully and upon discharge, it had shrunk over 4” in size. His left lower quadrant wound healed completely. Richard also began participating in his care by learning how to change his own ostomy bag.

The respiratory team worked with Richard to get him back to his baseline. In only ten days, he weaned off the ventilator completely! Two weeks later, he was decannulated, needing minimal assistance from a nasal cannula.

From a rehab perspective, Richard's initial participation was limited due to the ventilator. But as soon as he weaned off the vent, he worked hard in therapy. Richard was determined to begin ambulating with a four-wheel walker for short distances. And to no one's surprise, he succeeded. Richard will continue to work on longer distances at his next facility.

All this occurred in a supportive environment coordinated by case management. They remained in close communication with Richard and his family on his discharge plan. After finding out that discharging home wasn't an option, they coordinated discharge to a skilled nursing facility. The entire Vibra team is thrilled with Richard's success!