Pediatric Rehabilitation: Patient Stories
At Age 16, A Second Chance at Life
When 16-year-old Scott Chan was wheeled through the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s (RIC) doors on a stretcher in March 2007, he was unable to move, eat or speak on his own.
Chan experienced a hemorrhage of an arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal collection of blood vessels in the brain, that resulted in a brain injury and a subsequent stroke.
“You need to call your priest and family members because it doesn’t look like he's going to make it,” emergency room doctors told his mother.
Meera Leister's Story
Age 4, Chicago, IL
Meera was like any other little 3-year-old girl. She loved cupcakes, the beach, dancing, and playing anything Disney with her family and friends. However, one day her parents noticed that she was having trouble with balance, climbing stairs, and walking in a straight line. She was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor next to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls muscle coordination. She had surgery to remove the tumor and started an intense course of chemotherapy immediately afterward. As a result of the cancer-fighting treatments, Meera suffered major gross motor deficits, speech and sight deficits.
“She basically couldn’t sit up on her own,” said Daniel Leister, Meera’s father. “Her balance was shot and she had a lot of weakness, especially on her right side.”
Jeremiah King's Story
Age 8, Mahomet, IL
Jeremiah was out with his family in training for a Charity 5K run when a car hit him as he crossed the street and he sustained a traumatic brain injury. After several weeks in a Champaign, IL hospital he was brought to Chicago and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
When he arrived at RIC he was unable to walk, talk, or even sit up on his own.
Masha Melnikov's Story
Age 14, St. Petersburg, Russia
Masha was in St. Petersburg, Russia, visiting her grandmother and enjoying one of her favorite hobbies – horseback riding. She was in the process of stalling her horse back in the stable when she was kicked in the head and sustained a severe skull fracture and traumatic brain injury.
Her father, a UN diplomat, searched the globe for the best hospital to care for his daughter. Following a comprehensive search and consultations, the choice was unanimous – RIC.
Age 5, Chicago, IL
Jaime Correa was an average 5-year-old boy who loved to play with his friends and ride his bike. He was always a happy kid and kept very busy. Jaime's family wondered if they would ever again see the boy they grew to know and love after he was involved in a tragic car accident. The accident caused a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and multiple other injuries requiring him to undergo a craniotomy to fix the bleeds in his brain and relieve the pressure.
“He couldn’t do anything,” said Jaime's mother. “He couldn’t talk. He couldn’t walk. He couldn’t eat or breathe on his own. He was like a newborn and had to learn everything again.”