Success Stories

Amber Leach

After contracting COVID-19 and suffering respiratory failure, Amber Leach came to NCLTAH for ventilator weaning.

Amber Leach, 44, lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She works for the state as a data analyst and loves her job. She is very active and stays social in her community. Amber explained, “I am very blessed with a great family and friends!” She enjoys being outdoors camping, fishing, riding horses, and participating in shooting sports. She also volunteers for the Cheyenne Frontier Days. Both her brother and sister live in Cheyenne, and her parents live in Nebraska.

After attending a large wedding as a bridesmaid, Amber started feeling very tired. Later she developed a headache and fever. She contracted COVID-19 and suffered from acute respiratory failure. Her condition required a ventilator to support her breathing.

Amber chose Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital to assist with her ventilator weaning. It was key that the facility was close to her home. This way, she could have the support of her friends and family nearby. She also read the great reviews that NCLTAH received on their website.

During her stay, Amber was appreciative of the care and attention she received. She stated, “The staff is amazing and so encouraging! Nursing went out of their way to meet my needs, and everyone has such a positive attitude.” She then transitioned to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital due to loving the facility and it being just down the hall. She stated, “Everyone has the most positive attitudes!”

Amber looks forward to returning home to see her family, especially her new niece and nephews. She will continue working on her goals to get back to doing what she loves, being outdoors. She said, “I’m just continuing on this uphill road and thank these facilities for all the help!” 

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Ronald Mena

Ronald Mena came to NCLTAH to wean off the ventilator so he could start intensive therapy.

Ronald Mena and his wife have lived in Haxtun, Colorado for the past 14 years. Married for 33 years, they love to spend time together just enjoying life. In his free time, Ronald enjoys outdoor activities like fishing, camping, and scuba diving. 

During a bad storm one night at home, Ronald started experiencing severe chest pains and had difficulty breathing. He immediately went to the hospital, where they told him he suffered a heart attack, acute on chronic hypoxic respiratory failure, and an acute kidney injury requiring dialysis. His condition required a ventilator. 

Ronald’s physician at the hospital recommended Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. There he would receive therapy and could work on weaning off the ventilator. The staff at NCLTAH impressed Ronald right away with their patient-first attitude. “The doctors and nurses inspired me to get better! Everything NCLTAH did was wonderful. The entire experience was great!”

Throughout his stay, Ronald became close with his care team and leaned on them for support. “Dr. Pearson and I would pray together about my renal recovery and, sure enough, two weeks later I didn’t need dialysis anymore. It was a miracle!”

Because of his hard work and determination to recover, Ronald is now home after a little over two months of rehabilitation at NCLTAH. He is loving life and is slowly working back up to his normal routine. His future recovery goals include gaining more leg strength and eventually going back to work.

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Ronda Cure

Ronda overcame many obstacles during her recovery at NCLTAH including acute hypoxemic respiratory failure.

Ronda Cure lives in Sterling, Colorado with her husband and two sons. She enjoys spending time with family and taking care of their animals. They have four dogs, two cats, and two chickens. Before her hospitalization, she worked full-time and kept a very tidy house.

At the age of 49, Ronda suffered from acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, sepsis, atrial fibrillation, and aortic dissection with repair. Upon arriving at the hospital, she required full ventilator support. Knowing she would need a higher level of care, her family started searching for the next step in her recovery.

They chose Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital after a previous patient informed them of their great care. Being closer to home was an added benefit for the whole family. Ronda started her next phase of recovery at NCLTAH at the end of April.

Ronda stayed dedicated to her recovery and appreciated the continuous support that she received from the staff. She explained, “The PCTs and nurses were wonderful and so encouraging! Paul Eshom, RN, always believed in me and helped me to never give up! Dr. Pearson and Dr. Masotti were great and always informed me of my progression.”

After a long journey, Ronda built up the strength to wean off the ventilator. The process can be stressful especially when working back up to normal functionality. Her respiratory therapists made sure she was comfortable but moved at a pace that supported her recovery.

Ronda spent about two months at NCLTAH and saw great progress. She will only need oxygen for her return home. She looks forward to seeing her family and will continue her recovery with NCLTAH’s outpatient therapy department. Her goal is to achieve her prior level of function and believes that extended therapy will help. She states, “Thank you to all the wonderful staff. I would recommend this place to anyone!”

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Doug Cermack

Doug felt confident returning to NCLTAH after his first experience was so positive.

In 2014, Doug Cermack got into a car accident that left him wheelchair-bound. He spent time at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital to recover. Since then, he has been doing physical therapy three times per week.

At 67-years-old, Doug lives in Lusk, Wyoming with his wife, Anna, their son, two cats, and one dog. He likes to take advantage of their vast acreage for target shooting. When it comes to family time, Doug enjoys getting out of the house to go out to dinner.

Life was going well for Doug’s continued recovery until he developed pressure ulcers. This led to a diagnosis of osteomyelitis requiring another hospitalization. Because of his positive experience with NCLTAH, he was quick to return. He explained, “I had great luck here prior, and I just really like this place. It feels like home.”

During his month-long stay at NCLTAH, Doug worked with a full team to achieve his recovery goals. “The doctors are great at spending time with me and talking to me. They really know what they are doing! The RNs and PCTs are really good, and the therapists keep me moving.” He also saw a wound care physician weekly to review wound care and management.

Doug looks forward to returning home with his family and can’t wait to see his animals. His main goal for the future is to stay healthy! He stated, “NCLTAH has been extremely helpful in my recovery and I wouldn’t choose any other facility.”

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Janie Padilla

Janie’s road to recovery wasn’t easy after a severe reaction to general anesthesia during an elective surgery.

At 50-years-old, Janie Padilla described her life as perfect. While raising her three children in Evans, CO, she enjoyed crocheting and designing cups. She also enjoyed attending classic car shows with her husband of 18 years.

This all came to a halt after Janie underwent elective carpal tunnel surgery. Due to a severe reaction to the general anesthesia, she went into cardiac arrest. Janie then faced acute hypoxic respiratory failure requiring a ventilator, acute metabolic encephalopathy, and an anoxic brain injury.

Knowing Janie would require continued care, her physicians recommended Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. Unable to decide due to her condition, Janie’s family chose to have her transferred immediately. Now closer to home, she started on the road to recovery.

Janie spent over a month at NCLTAH. The staff impressed her with the care and support she received. “The nurses were great! They paid attention to my needs and I could tell they loved their jobs! The physicians were polite and checked on me a lot. All the staff was very attentive to my needs,” she explained.

After seeing some progress, Janie transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. There, Janie continues working on building up her strength and endurance so she can return home. Being a mom is everything to her so she can’t wait to be back with her family.

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Berniece Nadeau

After suffering respiratory failure due to COVID-19, Berniece came to NCLTAH for ventilator weaning.

Berniece Nadeau, 62, lives in Fort Morgan, Colorado with her husband and their two chihuahuas. She and her husband love spending time with their two children and four grandchildren. In her free time, she likes walking her dogs and camping in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. 

One day Berniece started experiencing symptoms including fever, chills, and respiratory issues. Her brother came over that day to visit and found her on the floor. He immediately called an ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital. There she was diagnosed with COVID-19, pneumonia, and acute hypoxemic respiratory failure.

Unable to make the decision herself, Berniece’s family stepped in and chose to transfer her to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. Two of her family members were previous patients and knew NCLTAH would take good care of her. Sadie, Berniece’s daughter stated, “We chose the facility due to the success rate and how great we know it is! I also love that it has all the levels of care we need to get her home.”

While working through her recovery at NCLTAH, Berniece stated, “I really enjoy the two physicians, Dr. Pearson and Dr. Masotti. They are very competent and knowledgeable.” With their support, she was able to progress enough to be transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital.

Berniece started the inpatient therapy program with NCRH and was confident in the staff’s ability to get her back to better. “There are so many great PCT’s and nurses that were so encouraging and wonderful! The respiratory therapists were great and very knowledgeable. The staff kept me very motivated and were always so positive. The housekeeping staff and kitchen staff were amazing! They would always go out of their way to help me. I loved that they would all go the extra mile! Overall, it was a great experience!”

After nearly two months at NCLTAH and NCRH, Berniece discharged home, excited to return to her husband and her dogs. She will continue her recovery with outpatient therapy at NCRH. As an outpatient, Berniece will work on building her strength and endurance with physical and occupational therapy.

Berniece has specific goals as she continues to recover.  Before her hospitalization, Berniece was walking her dogs all the time. Her ultimate goal is to walk them again without needing an assistive device. She would also like to start volunteering with foster children in the future.

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Katharine England

Katharine England’s life on the ranch changed suddenly when she experienced a serious and complex medical event.

Katharine England, 65, lives on a ranch in Kersey, CO where she loves to spend time with her husband and son. She has a passion for animals and enjoys tending after her ponies, dogs, chickens, and cats. She even looks after her neighbors’ donkey and hopes to add one to her family someday. When she’s not with her family or looking after the animals, Katharine works full-time for a construction company. 

Katharine’s daily life changed suddenly one January day when her family found her on the floor. They rushed her to the emergency department where she was diagnosed with a ruptured anterior communicating aneurysm. She underwent double coiling of the aneurysm and had a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Katharine also suffered acute hypoxic respiratory failure, requiring a tracheostomy. 

After a recommendation from the hospital, Katharine’s family decided to transfer her to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. She was excited to start her recovery with such an experienced and supportive staff.  

“The doctors have been great about answering all my questions, and the nurses have been so patient educating me about the medications I receive,” Katharine said. 

Katharine then transitioned to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital to focus on gaining her strength back. “My recovery has been influenced by my end goal of getting home to my animals and family.”

Katharine is excited to get back to her ranch and ultimately get back to work. She is also hoping to finally get the donkey she always wanted. She thanks everyone for the support they have given her during this difficult time and looks forward to continuing on her road to recovery. 

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Raymond Hoppes

After accidentally ingesting a toxic substance, Raymond Hoppes suffered respiratory failure and required a ventilator.

For the last eight years, Raymond Hoppes has enjoyed retired life with his wife, Laurel. The couple has been married for 49 years and lives in Longmont, Colorado. They have four grandchildren and cherish the time they spend together. Outside of his family, Raymond’s passion is building model railroads. He’s spent a lot of time in Chama, New Mexico working on railroads and building train cars, as well as doing photography.

Recently, life changed dramatically for Raymond when he accidentally ingested a toxic substance. This led to acute hypoxemic respiratory failure and pneumonia. Unable to breathe on his own, Raymond had to be placed on a ventilator. The acute care hospital recommended a transfer to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital (NCLTAH).

Raymond and Laurel agreed and chose NCLTAH for the next stage of his recovery. NCLTAH is designated by The Joint Commission as a “Center of Excellence” for respiratory failure. The hospital’s respiratory failure specialty program proved to be exactly what Raymond needed.

“Both physicians were very caring,” Raymond said, reflecting on his experience at NCLTAH. “Paula, the physical therapist, was wonderful, and so encouraging for my recovery.”

Having made great progress, Raymond looks forward to getting back to his normal routine. He has one more stop on his journey, transferring to a rehabilitation facility to regain more of his strength before returning home.

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Edward Bach

While recovering from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, Edward Bach felt the impact of the staff at NCLTAH.

For fifty years, Edward Bach has worked as a licensed plumber in Windsor, CO. When not dealing with clogged drains and leaky pipes, Edward enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time with his wife, kids, and six grandchildren.

One day at home, Edward, 67, began feeling nauseous and experiencing a backache. After admitting to the local acute care hospital, Edward was diagnosed with a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm.

After treatment at the short-term acute care hospital, Edward still required a high level of medical care. He chose to transfer to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. The long-term acute care hospital was close to his home, and his wife could visit daily.

At NCLTAH, Edward made great progress, fueled by his desire to get back to his prior level of function. In addition, the hospital staff made a major impact on him. “I really have enjoyed the physicians,” Edward said. “They are very friendly, spend a lot of time with me, and really put a personal touch on my care! And the nursing staff is always friendly, happy, and eager to help!”

Edward looks forward to the next stage of his recovery: inpatient rehab at Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital, then a return home. Edward is most excited about the prospect of going outside again and spending time with his grandkids.

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Linda

To say no one anticipated what 2020 had in store would be an understatement. This is especially true of COVID-19 and its many repercussions.

Linda is no exception.

Linda was in need of a hip replacement that was delayed due to the concerns surrounding COVID-19. After a gradual decline in her mobility and cognition, her husband, Pat, took her to the hospital.

Doctors diagnosed Linda with a severe infection that started in her hip and spread to most of her spine. This started a long and lengthy recovery before Linda could have her hip replacement. After more than nine surgeries, several weeks of IV antibiotics, and over five weeks on life support, she finally began to improve. Linda finally got her hip replacement.

After the procedure, Linda knew therapy would be a challenge. Not only had she been bedridden for weeks, but the surgeons needed to remove a great deal of muscle and bone tissue due to the infection. When Linda arrived at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital she began to eat, breathe, and start the process of walking again.

Pat advises from their experience that patients and their families should “listen to their gut”. He also believes that it is incredibly important to surround yourself with a support system and share your story with them. When going through challenging times, it is so important to rely on those around you for support.

Pat’s “take away” was that the medical staff are amazing. He credits their attitude and care as what helped them find the root of the problem.

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