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Continuum of Care

Posted on February 28, 2020 in Patient Stories

Specialized services at Fort Sanders Regional provide patient with coordinated care and support

Sandra Betts was in the middle of her daily Bible devotions when she heard a loud noise from the bedroom where her husband Rickey was getting dressed.

“I thought maybe he dropped something,” Sandra says.Rickey and Sandra Betts

When she heard the noise again, she decided to check on him.

“I couldn’t walk,” Rickey Betts says. “I kept trying to get my shorts on like normal, and I kept falling.”

Finding the answers

The Betts’ son, an advanced EMT, rushed to their home and checked for signs of a stroke but there weren’t any. When Rickey saw a physician, the doctor thought he might have a rare brain disorder.

Rickey was sent to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, a neuro-spine Center of Excellence. That’s where he found out the real problem was a cancerous mass on his spine. He stayed in the hospital’s intensive care unit until surgery could be performed.

Sandra gives God the glory for pulling Rickey through and thanks the hospital for giving him lifesaving care. The hospital staff also cared for the family as a whole, giving Sandra and her mother-in-law a place to sleep until Rickey was ready to be moved to rehabilitation after surgery.

“I can’t tell this story without crying,” Sandra says. “They were all so good to us.”

Regaining quality of life

After receiving excellent, compassionate care at Fort Sanders Regional, Rickey was transferred to Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center. The Center is located within the hospital and is a leader in rehabilitating patients with stroke, spinal cord and brain injuries. The first day he was like a rag doll – weak, unable to sit up and unable to control his own body.

Every day was a challenge, but Rickey was determined and never lost faith. Therapists helped him grow stronger – then they helped him get his life back.

“They teach you everything,” Rickey says, “how to bathe and how to brush your teeth, how to shave and dress and how to cook.”

Blessed and grateful

Rickey firmly believes he would be bedridden today had it not been for the grace of God and the people who cared for him. But instead of thinking about the “what ifs,” Ricky and Sandra Betts are counting their blessings.

“I’m thankful just to be here after all my body went through,” Rickey says.

“God is in every part of our story,” Sandra says. “Our story revolves around good people. God led us to the good people, and we had an amazing experience.”