Roger's Story

A tough fight – an even tougher fighter

Roger Broadwater knew he was getting sick. On March 30, the 76-year-old was admitted to UPMC Western Maryland Health System with pneumonia and respiratory distress.

Roger’s nephew, with whom he lives, was worried. Roger was already battling kidney disease, heart failure, asthma and high blood pressure. A few days into his admission, Roger fell into respiratory failure. He needed chest surgery and was proned (placed on his belly) to allow his lungs to get as much oxygen as possible. For almost a month, Roger fought for his life.

After significant medical intervention, Roger stabilized. His family knew Roger was a fighter and wanted to give him the best chance at returning to his life. On the advice of his care team, they chose Select Specialty Hospital – Johnstown for additional healing and recovery.

Roger arrived April 22 and was evaluated by an interdisciplinary team composed of an internist, intensivist, pulmonologist, nephrologist and endocrinologist. He was also seen by our nurses, respiratory therapists, dietitian and therapy department including physical and occupational medicine and speech pathology. Together, they created a plan to help Roger liberate from the ventilator and get home.

Respiratory, nursing and physical therapists joined forces to encourage Roger’s mobility twice a day.

Roger remembers how everyone encouraged him as he met specific goals.  Therapists cheered as if he finished a marathon when he stood at the bed for the first time, “it was only about a minute, but I did it.”

“I realized then that these folks knew what they were doing and I needed to listen to them. They would get me home,” Roger said.

Respiratory therapists had Roger practice deep breathing. When his session ended, he pushed himself to keep going.  Roger liberated from the ventilator and had his airway support removed. The speech therapist gave him exercises for throat muscles so he could eat and swallow.

“Boy, was it good when I could finally eat and taste something real,” he said.

After a month with us, Roger was ready to go home.

He’s excited to get back to his family.

“I can’t thank this place enough for what they did,” Roger said. “They are the nicest people you would ever want to meet. They will push you, but it’s what they do best because it got me home.”