Patricia, one of our former patients at RML Hinsdale, contacted us to say hello and to let everyone know how much she appreciated all the staff at RML. She is forever grateful for the great care and compassion shown to her while she was our patient. We are glad you are doing well Patricia and thanks for your kind words, looking good!
Author: Natalie Wong
It Was The One And Only Decision
RML is a nonprofit specialty hospital with locations in Chicago and Hinsdale serving patients with catastrophic or acute illnesses complicated by multiple medical issues. Our mission: To provide quality, compassionate care to patients from our referring community who suffer from prolonged, severe illness.
Jane’s Courageous Recovery
A year ago, Jane arrived at RML unable to breathe on her own and unable to talk, move, or simply blink.
Jane battled Guillian-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that affects the nervous system. Guillian-Barre begins with a weakness in the feet and hands and rapidly progresses to the rest of the body. Guillian–Barre Syndrome is rare with only 1–2 cases per 100,000 people annually, but is the most common cause of acute non-trauma-related paralysis in the world.
Recently Jane returned to RML, the picture of good health, walking, talking, and breathing. She returned to express her gratitude to staff who made such an impact during her time at RML.
Having a supportive care team makes a significant difference in the recovery process. In addition to caregivers at RML, Jane was blessed with husband Ken who was by her side throughout her battle with Guillian-Barre. Both Ken & Jane became an important part of the RML family. Their strong, dedicated spirits continue to inspire us.
A mother and son were admitted to RML at the same time. Due to the complexity of their medical conditions, they were unable to see one another. They could not talk on the phone or get out of bed to connect, despite being in the same hospital.
The son was determined to get back on his feet. He worked hard to get out of bed and gain the strength to walk again. In coordination with his clinical and therapy teams, he planned a surprise visit to his mom.
Imagine the joy and pride she felt as she watched her son, who had been confined to a hospital bed, walk into her hospital room. It was an emotional reunion with many happy tears.
Day in and day out, we are grateful to serve patients like this mother and son duo, who inspire us in many ways. Thank you to the patients and staff who make moments like this possible.
New Liver & Lease on Life
Imagine unexpectedly passing out on your apartment and waking up in a hospital to learn that your only option for survival is a new liver. That was a reality for Lia. She battled autoimmune liver disease and her liver was in critical condition.
Lia underwent a successful organ transplant but suffered major complications following the surgery. She battled kidney failure and a serious lung infection. More than once after the transplant, her family and friends were told she had only a few hours to live – Lia was not expected to make it through all of the complications her body was battling.
Lia’s long hospitalization following the transplant surgery left her unable to walk or use her hands and unable to breathe without the assistance of a ventilator. Lia transferred to RML with some pretty ambitious goals: despite barely surviving post-surgery complications, she wanted to get back on her feet and learn to breathe on her own again.
“Though my transplant was done at another hospital, RML was the first place I remember and where I was completely lucid. There were many dark times where I felt that I would never breathe on my own nor eat solid food, hold a fork without assistance or walk more than a couple of feet without my legs trembling and giving out. The best day was the day, with the support of Rob and the other therapists on staff, where I walked to the next corridor without stopping to sit in a wheelchair. That showed me that this was only temporary and I knew I could get better.”
Lia did in fact get better. After RML, Lia continued therapy. She finished planning for her wedding, started a new job and moved in to a new home. She is now happily married.
One Patients Journey
Janet Frampton knew she had COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) but was not expecting to end up on this journey.
Not too long ago Janet felt she was having trouble breathing. Her hospital was full, so she was sent to Advocate South Suburban Hospital. While she was there, her breathing became more difficult and she ended up needing the assistance of a mechanical ventilator for breathing. Time passed and her physicians thought it would be best if Janet was transferred to a LTCH (long Term Acute Care Hospital) to continue her weaning from the ventilator.
That is when Janet’s family jumped in. They wanted to find the best place for “mom”. Jennifer, Janet’s daughter, researched LTCH and found RML Specialty Hospital. The family agreed RML Specialty Hospital would be the best place for mom and Chicago would be the ideal location for the family.
Not long after Janet arrived, she was able to breathe on her own for hours at a time. Today she is up in a chair, looking forward to returning home very soon.
“The doctors here are a world of knowledge. They are caring and professional” States Janet. “I couldn’t be in a better place”. “The staff here is caring, professional, and great.”
Thank you, Janet, for all your kind words.
Thank you RML Specialty hospital staff, for helping Janet on her road to recovery.
Patrick’s Patient Experience
The patient experience cannot be achieved by one person alone in the hospital setting. It is the responsibility of all – nurses, physicians, and therapists, as well as those who support the care experience, from food and nutrition services and the environmental services team, to the individuals processing billing and medical records.
As an environmental service tech at RML, Emma Cortez has an important job. She is responsible for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting patient rooms and care units, preventing the spread of infection. She regularly interacts with infectious, biological, and sharp, unclean materials. More importantly, she regularly interacts with patients.
The power of a clean room can have a significant impact on the patient experience. The power of delivering compassion and empathy while cleaning that room has even more impact. Father daughter duo Patrick and Cathy recently experienced Emma’s exceptional care.
“Emma was assigned to clean my father’s room. While cleaning his room one day, she starting talking to my dad and had many kind words to say. She told him that he was a strong man and commented on the progress she saw him making with his therapists. She also relayed his progress to me, and reassured me of his strength. My father greatly appreciated her kindness.”
Prior to Patrick’s discharge, Cathy recognized the work of Emma and many staff on Hinsdale’s B1 unit who shared kindness, compassion, and empathy while caring for her dad and helping him reach his goal of returning home. From the patient care technicians to the nurses, physicians, and environmental service techs, each staff member played an important role in her father’s patient experience.
Phil’s Magical Journey
Phil arrived at RML with respiratory failure, weighing 732 pounds. He worked hard to wean from the ventilator and breathe on his own again, all while losing 250 pounds.
A very special day this spring marked very important milestones for Phil: one week off of the ventilator, standing unsupported and taking eight steps for the first time in nearly a year.
Phil’s courage was inspirational. In addition to his efforts to overcome health challenges, Phil worked to improve all areas of his life. He applied for and obtained his professional magician certification and has enrolled in GED classes, all from his RML hospital bed.
“Therein lies the real magic,” exclaimed Phil’s physician, Dr. Langdon, speaking about his determination and spirit. On that special spring day, staff gathered around Phil’s bed to cheer him on as he stood on his own and took his first few steps. During breaks in his therapy, he demonstrated magic tricks and entertained staff.
Thank you for your courage and willingness to work, Phil. You are an inspiration to the entire RML family.
Road to Recovery: Pam’s Story
On March 20, 2003 I was admitted to RML Specialty Hospital after a 28-day stay in Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. I was battling streptococcal pneumonia and breathing with the help of a ventilator.
While in ICU, I was put in a drug-induced coma. I only have 24 hours worth of memories from my ICU visit due to the coma. My doctors estimated that it would take a minimum of six months to wean from the ventilator.
I was devastated to learn that I would probably not be able to walk again and could possibly be on a ventilator for the rest of my life. Since bicycle riding was one of my favorite activities, this news was hard to handle.
The employees of RML were very patient and understanding. They helped me fight to get off of the ventilator and on my feet again. The support of the occupational, physical, respiratory and speech therapists allowed me to wean from the ventilator.
What impressed me most about RML was the level of communication between all the employees. For example, I was terrified of getting my tracheotomy and feeding tubes removed. I mentioned this to one of the nurses, and the nurse and the staff reassured me that they would make sure I was comfortable during the procedures. Needless to say, everything went well.
Despite my original prognosis, I was at RML for less than two weeks. I was able to go on my first bike ride in August 2003, just six short months after my stay in intensive care. That first ride was only three miles long, but I was ecstatic. Three years later I completed my first 40 mile ride and in 2008, I was able to ride for 50 miles.
I cannot thank the employees at RML enough for the huge part they played in my road to recovery.
– Pam McQuillen
The Gift of Breath
Meet John. Seven years ago, John had double lung reduction surgery. Diseased tissue was cut out of both of his lungs, reducing the size and capacity of his lungs, in hopes of saving his life. The surgeries were his only option at overcoming the emphysema that was destructively taking his breath away.
Following his surgeries, John spent time at RML to wean from the ventilator and learn to breathe on his own again. John is a survivor: he fought through the anxiety of learning to breathe again without the help of a machine, determined to get home to be with his daughter and dog.
Today John walks 2.5 miles a day, takes care of two active dogs, and is an important part of his daughter’s life. John is an inspiration to all who fight lung disease.
For the past two years, John has given back and shared his story to inspire others. He walked with RML at Healthy Parks, Healthy Patients 5K. He also joined us at our annual Golf & Tennis Tournament to thank donors and staff for the difference they made in his life.
The Happiest of Birthdays
“Care, courage, loving and most of all respect for each other,” Dolores gleefully exclaimed as she reflected on her time at RML and the staff who saved her life.
Dolores came to RML after being in nursing homes and hospitals for almost two years. She was unable to walk for six months. Her prognosis was not good: if an infection in her leg did not clear up she would need amputation. Hospice was also a consideration.
Dolores received exceptional treatment from physicians, nurses and rehab staff at RML. Her team of occupational therapists, Matt and Kathy, and physical therapist Amanda worked diligently to get Dolores back on her feet. She recently WALKED out of RML with a walker and discharged to home.
Dolores celebrated a joy-filled birthday at RML on May 19th. She reported that this day brought her as much joy as she experienced when she got married and had her children.
Dolores celebrated unexpected gifts this birthday: another year of life, the ability to walk, and the opportunity to go home.
The Right Care at a Critical Time.
RML is a nonprofit specialty hospital with locations in Chicago and Hinsdale serving patients with catastrophic or acute illnesses complicated by multiple medical issues.
Our mission: To provide quality, compassionate care to patients from our referring community who suffer from prolonged, severe illness.
The Road to Recovery
April Braker was a patient with RML October 2018. She came to us from NMH with a rare autoimmune encephalitis. April came back to visit November 2019 , just a little over a year since she left RML for Acute Rehab.
This week, April spoke at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine about her experience and recovery from this rare illness.
Wedding Surprise for Dad!
This weekend at RML Specialty Hospital Hinsdale we were truly honored to share in a very touching moment for one of our patients. Shara, the daughter of one of our patients, brought her wedding party and had her wedding ceremony at RML so her ailing father could attend. Per Shara, “We planned this ceremony in less than 12 hours and everything worked out perfectly. It was nice to share the moment with the staff that took care of my dad, we really appreciated everyone’s kindness and compassion, especially during my dad’s final days there.” We wish you and your new husband a lifetime of happiness Shara and thank you for allowing us to be part of your special day with dad.