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Two Time Baltimore Stroke Victim Travels to Good Shepherd to Get His Life Back

July 25, 2017

After a successful career as a district sales manager for Panasonic, Tom Maciag of Baltimore happily settled into the new routine of retirement at age 55. He played golf every day and spent time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

Four years later, Tom’s life would change when he suffered a stroke while cutting the grass. He spent the next two years recovering to the point where he regained his independence and was able to drive short distances.

Disaster struck again in the form of a second stroke while Tom was having surgery to clear an artery. Doctors told his family that it was extremely serious and that his odds of survival were not good.

With the support of his family and the care he received, Tom survived, and his wife Donna began thinking about next steps. After looking at other options, Donna made the decision to send him to Good Shepherd Rehabilitation, almost 160 miles away from his home.

“I grew up in Allentown,” said Donna. “I grew up knowing what a wonderful reputation Good Shepherd has for rehabilitation.”

Tom’s first stop was Good Shepherd’s long-term acute care hospital in Bethlehem. Donna said she was immediately struck by how well her husband was treated there. She says they talked to him about every medicine, every test, every step of the way. Once he was stabilized, he was transferred to Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Allentown – the next step in his continuum of care.

When Tom arrived, he was unable to move, eat or do anything for himself. His care team developed a customized therapy plan for Tom, consisting of three daily hours of speech, recreational, physical and occupational therapy. His progress from week to week was nothing short of amazing.

Donna reports that within a few weeks, her husband was able to sit up and eat regular foods on his own. She says she honestly did not think that would happen. She was thrilled to see him smiling and cognizant of what is happening around him. None of that would have happened without Good Shepherd, she insists. She credits her husband’s nurses and therapists with his amazing recovery.

“The first time I worked with Tom, he required complete assistance with his bathing, dressing and self care,” says Alex Palanzo, OTR. “At discharge Tom was able to do some of his own bathing, put a shirt on with minimal help and complete some of his own grooming. He was even able to sit up and enjoy activities like golf and cards, which further increased his movement.”

“It was amazing to see Tom’s determination and progress,” says Katie Linberger, DPT, CCCE . “When he left he was able to walk short distances with a rolling walker.”

“Everyone at Good Shepherd made him work hard, but they made it fun and kept him laughing,” says Donna. “He felt comfortable and happy at Good Shepherd.”

Now at home, Tom has plenty to be thankful for, including his grandchildren, wife and health. Donna says he is becoming more independent every day and is back to playing cards with his grandkids and watching Orioles games.

“Good Shepherd deserves all the credit,” says Donna.