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A Woman's Intuition

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

COPD patient Walter Young and his wife

Mr. Young is 69 years old and suffers with COPD. He has been married for just under 50 years to his wife, Phyllis, who is a nurse on the Signature Healthcare Endoscopy unit and a 29-year veteran with Signature Healthcare.

Walter has been under the care of Signature Healthcare pulmonologist, Dr. Thomas A. Morris III for several years. Over that span, he has suffered several bouts of respiratory distress, collapse and hospital admission. Interestingly though, it was not Dr. Morris who referred him to the Pulmonary Rehabilitation service at Signature Healthcare.  Dr. Morris did not consider Walter a good candidate for Pulmonary Rehab.  After his most recent bout, Phyllis was at her local gym working out when she ran into a friend – Martha DaSilva, Respiratory Care Program Director and Professor at Massasoit Community College in Canton, MA.  Phyllis shared Walter’s most recent episode with Martha who thought immediately about the Pulmonary rehab facility at Signature Healthcare.  She was certain he would benefit from the program.  Phyllis approached Dr. Morris about getting Walter into the program but he still believed Walter was not strong enough for it.  Many weeks went by and every time Phyllis saw Martha at the gym, Martha remarked about this program and how it could help Walter.  It got so Phyllis didn’t want to go to the gym b/c she knew she’d have to explain to Martha why this hadn’t happened yet (and apparently, Martha has a fairly strong personality!).  Finally, one day, Phyllis ran into Dr. Morris at Signature Hospital and told him “Martha DaSilva (who Dr. Morris knows well) will not leave me alone about this and she and I want Walter in this program and we are two women against you as one man, and you know you are going to lose this battle!” Walter was enrolled the next week and began a 3+-month pulmonary rehab program with Signature.

The Signature Healthcare program, under the direction of Wayne Reynolds, RN, is focused on lifestyle education and behavioral change for patients with coronary artery disease and chronic pulmonary disease. Walter’s program began with baseline testing (including a stress test) so his rehabilitation plan could be safely tailored specifically to his needs and abilities. During his twice-weekly visits, Walter worked through a series of exercises while the nursing staff constantly monitored his breathing and heart rate.  As they watched his progress, they spent time educating him on techniques he could use at home to continue his rehabilitation. After 3 months in the program Walter had tripled his endurance on the treadmill.  Now a program graduate, he frequently visits the gym in his community and continues to gain strength and work on his rehabilitation at home. (Dr. Morris is very pleased with the results.)

The Youngs credit the amazing staff in the Pulmonary Rehab unit for Walter’s success.  They were always friendly and courteous, but more importantly, extremely knowledgeable and committed to educating Walter about his disease and his options for improving his health.  In his words “I came into the program scared but left with the confidence to continue the program on my own – thank you!”