Bonded By Love And Good Shepherd

June 08, 2022

Bonded By Love and Good Shepherd

The happiest of times watching their children grow has long bonded the families of April and Dharnell Bridges, and Barbara Collins. So, it was only natural that when medical adversity and tragedy struck them both, they grew even closer – and Good Shepherd was there to help them through it all.

April and Dharnell welcomed baby Love, their seventh child, on February 18, 2021. But when Love kept spitting up her formula and failed to thrive at 10 weeks, the couple knew something was wrong. A cyst on Love’s airway was the culprit and surgery was performed. However, further complications required a tracheostomy to help her breathe. Love spent two-and-a-half months at the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Emily Howatt Pliskatt Pediatric Unit in Bethlehem where multiple therapies helped build her strength, and April and Dharnell were trained by Good Shepherd’s expert team on how to manage Love’s trach. The one-year-old is now meeting all her developmental milestones and loves playing with her brothers and sisters.

Barbara supported April and Dharnell through this difficult time. Then, Barbara’s son, Isayah, was hit by a car while riding his bike. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and other secondary injuries, including multiple strokes and loss of his vision. The doctors told Barbara that Isayah might not survive. After more than five weeks in pediatric intensive care, where he was on a ventilator, Isayah needed rehabilitation. Dharnell told Barbara there was only one place to go: Good Shepherd. When Isayah arrived, he was largely comatose unable to do anything for himself. But four months of intense multiple therapies and propelled by a resilient spirit and positive attitude, Isayah, went home, walking, talking and ready to tackle the world. An iPad, donated by Good Shepherd, and loaded with special communication programs, helps the charming and outgoing 10-year-old with his school work.

“Good Shepherd is the best place for rehabilitation because we not only have an incredibly dedicated, enthusiastic staff, but we’re able to handle some of the most medically-complex patients and help them wean from as much medical support as possible to achieve their best functional outcomes,” says Kimberly Kuchinski, MD, MPH, medical director, pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Baby Love and Isayah are surely testament to that.