Double Amputee Nurse Thanks Staff Who Gave Her a Second Chance at Life
Pat Lewis, who lost both legs below the knee, as a result of unknown diabetes, will go home tomorrow for the first time since last summer
Patricia (Pat) Lewis made a few dance moves to her new theme song – Ain’t no Stopping [Me] Now – as she celebrated a personal victory. She’s going home from Lynbrook Restorative Therapy & Nursing center tomorrow - walking out on her own two prosthetic legs.
The double, below-the-knee amputee was a nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre when an unknown diabetes diagnosis caused her to lose both legs.
Today, surrounded and cheered on by her fellow oncology nurses at Mercy, Lewis said she was “grateful to be alive. “I don’t ask why me, God? I say, why not me? You could have taken my life.”
Her colleagues – including her nurse manager – said they look forward to welcoming Lewis back at work and all praised her positive attitude.
Lewis started feeling pain in her legs in September but chocked it up to being a floor nurse and constantly on her feet. So she continued to work as the mysterious pain in her legs got worse. Then the unexpected happened: Lewis suffered a stroke and it was determined there were multiple hairline fractures in both feet. After unsuccessful attempts to save her legs, they were ultimately amputated – one in September and the other in November. She then began rehab treatment at Mercy’s Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation unit before being transferred to Lynbrook Restorative Therapy & Nursing.
“The staff here is wonderful – I found some angels here,” said Lewis.
Lynbrook Restorative Therapy and Nursing Administrator Lisa Penziner said it’s the center’s goal to “give patients the support and strength to move on to the next chapter of their lives, physically, mentally and emotionally.”
In addition to a multidisciplinary team approach that includes an individualized exercise and nutritional program, exemplary nursing care, specialized physicians, psychological support, recreational therapy and on-site prosthetic/Orthotic services – Lynbrook Restorative started a first-of its kind monthly amputee support group for past and current patients as well as amputees in the community. Lewis said it was the “selling point” for her when she was choosing post-hospital care, as well as the seamless transfer between Mercy and Lynbrook Restorative. Lewis was the first patient to be part of the amputee program and support group offered at Lynbrook Restorative.
Before Lewis leaves for home, she had an opportunity to thank the staff at Lynbrook Restorative for helping her walk again, and Mercy Medical Center who saved her life and helped give her a second chance.
She thanked Patti Rowland of Mercy Medical Center ICU team, who diagnosed and treated her while at Mercy; the Mercy Medical Center Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation team for helping build her strength and confidence immediately after the amputations; Dr. Paulinder Rai, who runs the rehabilitation program at Lynbrook and is a wound specialist affiliated with Mercy Medical Center; Tan Pilapil, a Physical Therapist and Ariel Steinwall, an Occupational Therapist who cared for Pat at Lynbrook Restorative; and the nurses who worked with Pat at Mercy: Maggie Glier and Meghan Clark.
Photo credit: Joe Lanzetta