Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Helps Burn Patient Recover
Raymond Campbell of Hellertown experienced one of the worst injuries most people can imagine. A long-time welder, he was installing duct work one fall day in 2014 when a spark ignited an exposed part of his undershirt. The shirt ignited between Ray’s skin and his over garment, leaving almost half of his body severely burned.
Ray does not remember much of that day. He recalls thinking he would be out of work for a few days, not realizing the severity of his injury. Transported by ambulance to Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Regional Burn Center, his doctors were not terribly optimistic about his recovery.
“They told my wife that if I made it, I would be in a coma for six to eight weeks,” says Raymond. “I would spend at least another month at the burn center, two months at a rehabilitation facility and probably would not return to work for four years. It was not good.”
While in a medically induced coma for two weeks to control pain, doctors completed several skin grafts to help Ray heal. Ray recovered from the procedures much faster than expected, and his doctors slowly brought him out of the coma. He spent another week at the burn center to recuperate from the grafts and was then transferred to Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital – Allentown.
When Ray arrived at Good Shepherd, he was unable to lift his arms, walk or feed himself. Inactivity had caused muscle loss and atrophy, and his left side was covered in painful scar tissue. Despite this, Ray wanted to regain anything he could and committed himself to being the best patient possible. While at the inpatient hospital, he received intensive speech, occupational and physical therapy. Two short weeks later, he was discharged home and was able to leave the hospital on his own two feet.
Ray immediately started outpatient therapy at Good Shepherd Physical Therapy to help him increase strength, flexibility and range of motion. His therapists Eric Butvitch, MS, OTR/L, and Jillian Fontana, PT, DPT, CTRS, designed a therapy protocol for Ray that incorporated instrument assisted soft tissue massage to help stretch the muscles, weight lifting, stair work and balance exercises. He was in therapy three days a week for two hours each.
“A lot of the work we did focused on breaking up ray's scar tissue and smoothing it out to increase Ray's range of motion and decrease the tightness across his chest,” explains Jillian. “Normal muscle is smooth, allowing fluid movement. When that tissue is burned, it creates bumpy restrictions making movement difficult.”
In trying to explain the sensation, Ray likened it to having three layers of duct tape on your chest. He had surgery to further release the muscle and continued his therapy for nine months.
These days, Ray says he is pretty much back to doing all of the things he did before the accident. He is back to work and enjoying his hobbies, which include old cars, 4-wheel drive competitions and tinkering in his pole barn. He feels fortunate to have recovered so well and ahead of the original schedule.
“It is like anything else in life,” says Ray. “It is not about what happens but how you deal with what happens that matters.”
To learn more about rehab for burn patients at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital or at our outpatient locations, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or contact us online.