Grateful Patient Reunites with NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Rehab Staff
Former Patient Uses Second Chance at Life to Help Others—as a Doctor
Dec 28, 2016
As part of his holiday trip from his home in the Dominican Republic back to the Bronx, former patient Alex Ramirez made a trip back to NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi to express his 20+ years of gratitude to the hospital staff.
In 1994, Alex Ramirez was flown to New York to receive treatment at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi following a severe spinal cord injury from a diving accident in his native country, the Dominican Republic.
“I only had limited wrist function,” he recalled. “I really had to relearn everything.”
That’s when occupational therapist Stephen Leonard and the rehabilitation team at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi got to work. They partnered with Alex for four months of intensive rehabilitation, during which Alex relearned basic functions like sitting up, balancing himself, dressing, bathing, and other important skills, so that despite his paralysis, he could go about his daily life.
“Alex was in a tough place when he arrived,” said Mr. Leonard. “But we knew that as long as he was committed to his recovery, we would be there to assist him, every step of the way. Both figuratively and literally.”
The rehabilitation team was also able to provide Alex with the emotional support he needed to overcome such a devastating injury, pairing him with therapists to help him adjust and eventually thrive.
“Steve and his colleagues at Jacobi went above and beyond to help me,” said Alex. “I can never thank them enough.”
Today, Alex is now Dr. Ramirez, teaching radiology to 600 students at a medical school in the Dominican Republic. Twenty years later, Mr. Leonard is the director of the rehabilitation team at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi.
If you or someone you care about is in need of rehabilitation services, please contact the Rehabilitation Department at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi at 718-918-6204.