Enjoying Life Despite a Complex Injury

It was another routine work day in May 2008 for Rudy Rodriguez who is a construction foreman. Rudy travels nationwide building and rebuilding movie theaters, and on this fateful day he was in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Rudy was operating a utility machine, which is similar to a forklift, when the mechanical arm attached to the machine broke off and snapped him back into its cage. Rudy was trapped inside the cage and bore tons of hydraulic pressure on his chest.

By the time the paramedics arrived the machine had pounded three inches into Rudy’s chest, leaving him unconscious and without breath for almost 20 minutes. Rudy was taken to Loyola University Hospital, where doctors detected that the accident had not only injured his chest and ribs, but had affected parts of his brain as well. Doctors at Loyola were not optimistic about Rudy’s recovery, noting that they had never seen an accident like this before and they had never seen anyone take so long to recover.

Three weeks passed before Rudy’s condition stabilized and he was transferred to Pennsylvania, where he lives. Rudy was admitted to Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital in Bethlehem and the physicians and specialized staff took on Rudy’s medically complex case. Within days of being admitted to the Specialty Hospital, Rudy’s future seemed brighter. He was soon weaned off a ventilator, began therapy to assure his long-term recovery and quickly began walking. As a true testament to the level of care provided at the Specialty Hospital, Rudy was only in the long-term acute care unit for three weeks.

The journey has been both long and painful but Rudy remained faithful and resilient and has recovered significantly since that horrific day in May. Once released from the Specialty Hospital, Rudy continued his physical and cognitive therapy on an outpatient basis at Good Shepherd. Today, he is enjoying life at home with his wife and family and looks forward to returning to work. 

For more information on Good Shepherd's programs and services, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or contact us.