Getting a call that your child has been in an accident is a feeling no parent could ever possibly put into words. For Judy, Shane’s mom, this call came on July 16, 2022. Without warning, their family had embarked on a long unknown journey.
Earlier that afternoon, Shane was test-driving a motorcycle when a vehicle turned into his lane, causing a devastating collision. Emergency medical services rushed Shane to the hospital where he underwent life-saving surgery to repair his torn aorta and stabilize his fractured pelvis.
The next day, Shane was in serious condition and airlifted to the Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. The accident resulted in severe injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, bruising on his lungs and several extensive fractures throughout his body.
Shane’s family knew his road to recovery would require unique care, patience and hope, as they were not sure that he would ever regain independence or his ability to walk, talk and think like he used to. When the time came for Shane to leave the hospital, his family had a hard time finding a rehabilitation unit that would accept him because he couldn’t bear weight on any of his arms or legs. After hearing about the opening of ChildServe’s brand-new Pediatric Rehabilitation Unit, the family felt a sense of relief for the first time in months.
“Shane’s accident was any parent’s worst nightmare,” said Judy, Shane’s mom. “We came to ChildServe, and right away, they gave me hope that my son would one day be himself again.”
While at ChildServe, Shane worked hard to find a glimpse at what life used to be like. An 18-year-old boy who just a couple of months ago was working on cars in the garage was now relearning how to use every part of his body. In multiple occupational and physical therapy sessions each day, his ChildServe therapists utilized a variety of specialty equipment and technology to fast-track his recovery.
“I am a retired nurse and have been in the medical field for 34 years,” said Judy. “I have never seen collaboration like I did at ChildServe. The rapport between every entity is what most hospitals strive for. From the nurses and therapists to the laundry department reconstructing clothes to fit over Shane’s pelvic bar, each team worked so well together.”
In occupational therapy, Shane’s care team used the Xcite machine, a functional stimulation device used for fine motor and gross training. After multiple sessions with the Xcite and lots of encouragement from his therapists, Shane could grasp wrenches and screwdrivers, just like he had before.
“Research shows that utilizing electrical stimulation, like with the Xcite machine, prevents muscle atrophy, reduces the range of motion deficits and improves motor control,” said Shane’s occupational therapist, Beth Hennes. “We knew this therapy technique would greatly impact Shane’s recovery and help him reach the goals that were most important to him. He was very motivated to improve his hand function.”
During physical therapy, Shane practiced standing and walking with the help of the Bioness Vector, a ceiling-mounted robotic rail system that detects and prevents falls before they happen. His biggest goal was to stand up, walk toward his girlfriend, get down on one knee and ask her to marry him. You can imagine the celebration at ChildServe when Shane, surrounded by all of his family and care team, finally accomplished this goal during a therapy session!
“It was one of the best days of our lives to watch him do that. We realized this was only the beginning,” said Judy. “I am so proud of Shane for not giving up. He has never let the accident stop him from achieving his dreams.”
On November 22, 2022, Shane took another significant walk – this time out the doors of ChildServe’s rehabilitation unit. The hallway erupted with cheers as ChildServe staff watched. The young man who just months ago was relearning to sit up was now walking out of our building with the world at his feet.
Since heading home, Shane has continued to work hard in ChildServe’s outpatient therapy services. He is now back to fixing cars in the garage, doing what he loves and is working toward an apprenticeship as a master mechanic.
“If Shane didn’t go to ChildServe, I absolutely think he would not be this far in his recovery journey,” said Judy. “My family is very blessed that the rehabilitation unit at ChildServe opened right in time for Shane’s recovery. I can’t express enough my appreciation and love for the smiles and encouragement we received from everyone involved in Shane’s care.”
ChildServe improves the health and well-being of 5,700 children each year through specialized clinical, home, and community-based programs and services. We serve children with developmental delays, disabilities, injuries, and other special healthcare needs.