Recovery after Stroke and Heart Attack — Patient Story at Good Shepherd Penn Partners

Recovery after Stroke and Heart Attack — Patient Story at Good Shepherd Penn Partners

At 83, Anne Scarpa is the heart and soul of her family. After suffering a heart attack and stroke following surgery she needed physical and occupational therapy. Arriving at Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine’s rehabilitation hospital, she had very limited function.

“I was upset by what I saw, because I definitely saw somebody that I couldn’t recognize. This was just not my mother. When they tried to sit her up, she totally always went to the left,” said Donna Scarpa Martine, daughter of Mrs. Scarpa.

Until recently, Mrs. Scarpa would have had to leave the care of Penn Medicine’s system for another rehabilitation provider but that option was unacceptable.

“So what I saw then, where she was able with much assistance to sit up… in the very beginning she really could speak that well. She would mumble, and then there would be a few words, and then she’d mumble again. But each day, we could see more progression. And even though maybe to the doctors it was only a little bit, to us she was doing well. But I knew… my instincts were… I had no choice. She was going to get better. I just had no choice but to make her get better, ” said Donna.

“So I heard about Good Shepherd Penn Partners. It’s close to where all of the hospitals that she’d be associated with. It’s the system. I did not want to take her away from the system, and why would I when the treatment that we were getting, the treatment that my mother was getting, was just the best. So I couldn’t think of any other place but to come here, and we came and we looked and it fit. It just fit my mother. I saw everything it has to offer and I couldn’t ask for anything better. And I knew that since she couldn’t go right home from the hospital, this would be the next best place,” said Donna.

Through her care at Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Mrs. Scarpa showed great improvement. Daily therapies included re-learning how to walk, speak, and other day-to-day activities that most take for granted.

“She has made a remarkable recovery in a very short time period, and without our intensive rehabilitation program her recovery might have taken much longer or may not have occurred. And if it does take much longer she would be at a much higher risk of complications — complications that would prevent her from returning home and becoming independent,” said Dr. Sam Wu, chief medical officer of Good Shepherd Penn Partners.

Because of her determination and the compassionate, excellent care and rehabilitation therapy she received at Good Shepherd Penn Partners rehabilitation hospital and throughout the Penn Medicine system, Mrs. Scarpa has resumed the central role she plays in her family.

“I couldn’t walk at all. They [Good Shepherd Penn Partners] has been teaching me to stand tall. I’m at the rehab center and I’m walking, I’m talking, I’m feeding myself, I’m dressing myself. These are all things I couldn’t do right while I was just getting better,” said Mrs. Scarpa.

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