Media

Pioneering Rehabilitation

Burke Helped Me Walk Again

Published April 1, 2013

Heath Baker first came to Burke in July 2011 after being paralyzed from the neck down due to Guillian Barre, a neurological disorder that causes paralysis. After 30 days of therapy, he moved to a sub-acute facility for some less intensive rehab. “When I left the first time, I really noticed what I missed by not being at Burke,” Heath said.

Heath came back less than month later to continue with more intensive therapy in Burke’s Neurological Rehabilitation Program. “They put me back in the same room and made me feel welcome,” he added, but “I still wasn’t in the right frame of mind to get better. I was angry and depressed as I saw others who were also paralyzed walking out but I was still stuck.”

Fortunately, Heath wouldn’t be immobile for much longer. Dr. Mark Herceg, Burke’s neuropsychologist, worked with Heath and helped him address the psychological aspects of his condition. “I felt much better after talking with him and I was able to place myself in the right frame of mind,” Heath noted. “Healing takes time and I couldn’t see that at the beginning.”

With the help of Heath's attending physician, Dr. Argyrios Stampas, director of Burke's Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program, and the rest of his clinical team, Heath began his path to healing. “At Burke, they make you work hard, but they helped me heal and to be able to walk again.” After 45 days of inpatient therapy and a few months working with Burke’s Outpatient Division, Heath is up and walking on his own.

“I love it at Burke—from the doctors to the therapists to the nurses and the rest of the staff,” Heath said. “I recommend it to everyone, including my family and friends.” He has since recommended Burke to his uncle who had a hip replacement recently and a neighbor who had a recent double knee replacement, who are now part of the Burke family as well.

“I’d refuse to go anywhere else if I get hurt again,” he added. “If you need rehab, you have to go to Burke.”