SOME OF THE HEROES YOU'LL MEET

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In HOPE EMERGES, you will meet doctors and nurses, physical and speech therapists. 

 

Families learning to cope with a son, a brother, a husband suffering unspeakable damage.

 

And patients working -- and sometimes struggling -- to find their way back to the lives they planned.

 

Or to make a new plan. A new normal. 

 

Jon McHenry
 

An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) rocketed Jon McHenry from the armored personnel vehicle he was driving. The seventeen-ton vehicle was blown fifty feet in the air.

 By the time it landed, Jon had suffered multiple broken bones and internal injuries, and his badly bruised brain was swelling. 

 His goal from the moment he arrived at the Polytrauma Unit in Richmond: To return to his unit in Afghanistan.

His journey requires all the physical and mental toughness that were his hallmarks as an undersized high school point guard in Newport, Pennsylvania.

 
Ajit Pai
 

Ask the man who became director of Richmond's Polytrauma Unit at age thirty to name his mentors and he'll come up with seven names -- and five of those people work with him.

 

His admiration of his co-workers is genuine and ever-present.

 

Ask the patients and their families about Pai, and they'll tell stories of patience and calm -- "He listens. He helps." 

 

Spirituality guides his approach to medicine and to life in a place where the consequences of modern war come home to be healed. "Be human," he said.

 

"Don't just be a healthcare provider."

Cathy Powers
 

A mother's fierce loyalty to her son and unwavering belief in his recovery eventually gives way to a heartbreaking and unspeakably brave decision, a burden no parent should ever have to shoulder.

 

Her journey began with such optimism. Using her strong Christian beliefs and the power of social media to create a community that would sustain her in the difficult days that followed, she rallied "prayer warriors" to bring a miracle to her son Bryce. 

 

It was as if will alone could heal her son's multiple brain injuries.

 

Finally, it was Bryce himself who told her what he wanted -- in the only way he could.

 

 

Monique Jones

 

A pink plastic tub and a gray plastic toolbox contain the tools of the Monique Jones's trade. 

 

The work of this speech language pathologist often begins before patients are even awake and aware of her. Spices. Cigarettes. Ground coffee. A bell and a whistle. A mirror. They're all part of a Coma Recovery Scale.

 

She balances patience with a well-honed sense of when patients are tired and when they aren't giving adequate effort in speech sessions -- and what it will take to get that effort, to get them to try their best to regain the ability to talk.

 

In one case, all it took was a plastic straw and an appeal any battlefield-tested Marine would understand. 

 

 

 

 

 



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