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Published on September 01, 2016

Mary Pugh

Gift in Appreciation for Daughter’s Compassionate Care

Mary Pugh
Donor: Mary Pugh

Recipient: Adventist HealthCare Physical Health & Rehabilitation

Mary Pugh was inspired to contribute to Adventist HealthCare after witnessing the care that her daughter received after a devastating motor vehicle accident. Last August, Joanne and her husband, Dan were riding a motorcycle in rural West Virginia when a car crossed the median and ploughed into them, killing Dan instantly. Joanne was rushed to Shock Trauma at the University of Maryland Medical, where she was treated for critical injuries, including brain bleeds, a torn carotid artery, a broken jaw, pelvis and wrist, as well as for emotional trauma. It took two weeks to get her stabilized before Mary and her husband, John arranged for Joanne to be transferred to Adventist HealthCare Physical Health & Rehabilitation (PH&R).

During the four weeks of in-patient treatment at PH&R, Mary seldom left her daughter’s side, and was grateful that Dr. Kirsten Ricci allowed her to stay with Joanne during the healing process.

I was the beneficiary of your decision,” Mary said later in a letter to Dr. Ricci, “Enabling me to spend many hours, both day and night, listening to and comforting Joanne as she mourned the death of her husband and dealt with her own injuries and her fears for herself and her 10-year-old son Luke. I am forever grateful that you allowed me to be with her while she struggled to recover and we mourned together.”

The staff at PH&R knew that Joanne had many physical and emotional challenges ahead. When she was first admitted, she was dealing with intense pain, her muscles had atrophied, and she was not able to stand or walk, and she had lost almost 20 pounds. Because of her brain bleeds, she required occupational therapy, as well as cognitive and speech therapy.

Sharon Peska, PH&R’s social worker, immediately reached out to Joanne and her family for bereavement counseling, and the chaplain visited her regularly. The nurses were also attuned to how she was feeling and what she needed emotionally as well as physically.

“All of the nursing staff was spectacular and they were all very sensitive to my situation,” said Joanne. “When they would come in and realize that I had just lost my husband, they would often sit with me, and we would cry and pray together. Many of them said that their families prayed for me as well.”

Joanne was an inpatient at PH&R for a month, and needed outpatient OT and PT for several more weeks. She has since been able to return to work, driving, and to the challenges of raising her son on her own.

“Dan’s sudden death was a terrible blow to all of us,” said Mary,” and it is difficult to imagine how Joanne would have gotten through the emotional pain and recovered from her own serious injuries without the kindness and care she received from the staff at PH&R. “It is impossible to thank each member of the staff, but I want them to know how much we appreciate everything they did for our daughter,” she added.

“I find that focusing on the things for which I am grateful is how I'm able to best cope with my loss, and move through my recovery,” said Joanne. “The team at Adventist is very high on that list for me and my family....they were an integral part of giving me back my life, and I will never forget them.”

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