Brain Injury Patient Reflects on Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program

>>Looking back, it was a day that changed
the lives of a Gates family forever. Nearly 30 years ago, Dan Santillo suffered
a traumatic brain injury. As 13WHAM’s Matt Molloy explains, he became
one of the first patients in a program that was just gettings started back then.>>In 1989, it was the first of its kind treatment
center in Rochester: A rehab unit dedicated to brain injuries at St. Mary’s Hospital. Just a year later, Dan Santillo would become
the first patient in a coma to arrive.>>Me and Nino were playing football outside
and I got hit by a car.>>Santillo was just 21-years-old when he
was struck by a car while playing football outside his parents’ home in Gates.>>His head hit the windshield and then he
stumbled and was flipped over the car.>>Dr. Mary Dombovy remembers when he arrived.>>In my mind, even after 30 years, Dan remains
one of the three sickest people we’ve admitted to the rehab unit.>>Santillo’s family prepared for the worst,
but the young father showed remarkable resilience. Thanks to the program at St. Mary’s, Santillo
didn’t have to go out of state for his recovery. His family was able to be by his side and
10 months later he was home for his daughter’s first birthday.>>It’s a testament to Dan. It was the worst-case scenario. He really wasn’t supposed to make it past
the first 24 hours.>>A few years ago, the program moved to Unity
Hospital of Rochester Regional Health. It’s now called the Golisano Restorative Neurology
Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Dombovy says, while the technology to
treat patients has improved, the approach remains the same.>>It isn’t just the doctor or the nurse. It’s all the therapists. Everyone is involved with working to get the
person to the best possible ability that they can.>>For Santillo, a thumbs up shows his gratitude. Santillo now gets to see his grandson off
to school every day. It’s a life that seemed out of reach in the
early days after his injuries.>>We have our own home and he’s independent,
so I think it’s a huge success and a testament to Dr. Dombovy and her program and everyone
she works with>>We may not be in the business of rescuing
people from a disaster or saving lives in an emergency room, but we are in the business
of putting people’s lives back together.>>March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. The rehabilitation program here in Rochester
marks 30 years this July.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *