Choosing Good Shepherd Gives New York Resident Renewed Hope

August 07, 2017

As a healthy 21-year old, Marques Jarmon of Liverpool, New York, did not give much thought to lifting the heavy boxes that were part of his job at a restaurant. But that all changed one day when his legs suddenly began to feel heavy and hard to move. He fell into a chair in his manager’s office and experienced “the worst pain of (his) entire life.” 

Marques was quickly transported to a nearby hospital, where his symptoms left doctors confused. Healthy 21-year olds do not usually lose mobility without some sort of trauma.  They soon discovered that a disc in Marques’ back ruptured and released its contents, impinging the flow of blood in his spinal cord and paralyzing him from the waist down.

Marques and his family spent the next several months learning to accept the devastating diagnosis and adjusting to a new way of living. Things he had done without thought or effort before his injury had to be re-learned through physical therapy.

Marques suffered another setback several months later, when he started experiencing heterotrophic oscification, a buildup of calcium in joints which is very common in young paraplegic males. X-rays revealed that some of Marques’ pelvic joints were totally engulfed. Two surgeries were necessary to remove the buildup and return some of his lost flexibility.

Up until this point, Marques had relied on his local hospital for his rehabilitation. When he never left his room for physical therapy after the first surgery, he realized he wanted something different to help him recover after the second procedure and decided on Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“The difference between my rehabilitation at Good Shepherd and my local hospital was night and day,” said Marques. “Everything at Good Shepherd is focused on rehabilitation for spinal cord and other traumatic injuries and illnesses. They understand my condition, because they deal with it every day.”

One of the differences that struck Marques immediately was the therapy team’s focus on his goals. He explains that a therapy plan was customized for him. His therapists knew what his limits were but that they made him work hard.

“When Marques first arrived at Good Shepherd he was one of the tightest people I have seen,” said Melissa Schlotter, PTA, CLT, CCI. “We had fun getting extremely creative with his stretching program. His range of motion has improved a lot, and we hope it continues to improve.”

Marques said he wants people to understand that they have a choice when it comes to choosing a health-care provider.  

“I thought I had to have my rehabilitation where I had my surgery,” he says. “The truth of the matter is you can go wherever you want. Everyone at Good Shepherd cares about your wellbeing. There is a really good energy here. Spend the time to find someone qualified to treat whatever you are dealing with. Your health is too important not to.”