Injured Firefighter Makes Remarkable Recovery & Heads Home | MedStar Health

Injured Firefighter Makes Remarkable Recovery and Heads Home

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Injured firefighter Dane Smothers in the rehabilitation gym at MedStar Health.

WASHINGTON - Oct. 26, 2017 - D.C. firefighter Dane Smothers, Jr., who was critically injured at the scene of a house fire this summer, was released from inpatient care at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital (MedStar NRH) on Wednesday, Oct. 25. Local news media outlets reported that there were strong concerns that Smothers might never walk again. But he has proved all of those who may have doubted him wrong.

"Life was not easy for him when he first came here, but he really progressed much more quickly than any of us could have expected," said Erika Gosai, MD, Spinal Cord Injury Physician and Rehabilitation Specialist with MedStar NRH. "You shouldn't really bet against DJ. He is a remarkable young man and has shown really, truly a strong healing capability."

Jack Sava, MD, Director of Trauma with MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MedStar WHC) added that Smothers had many severe injuries to his organs and blood vessels and some broken bones. "During the first 48 hours in intensive care, the ICU team worked minute to minute to try and keep him alive throughout the night," he said.

Smothers' colleagues from the D.C. Fire Department and many of those who cared for him with MedStar NRH - including his physical therapist Jacques Sadie, his occupational therapist Jocelyn Dressel, his recreation therapist Catherine McCrary, and his case manager Maureen Bobish, as well as members of the nursing staff at MedStar NRH and from MedStar WHC came to offer their support and encouragement on this joyful day for Dane.

Chief Gregory Dean with D.C. Fire and EMS said that he and his colleagues hope to see Smothers back on the job someday in the near future. "There is a lot of behind the scene players that have been extremely helpful," said Chief Dean. "I think we are motivated by this young man and his strength that we are seeing on a daily basis."

Smothers and his father, Dane Sr., who accompanied his son to a news conference prior to Dane Jr.'s discharge from MedStar NRH, were both thankful for the care Dane, Jr. received. Dane Jr. vowed to return to work fighting fires in the District one day. "I want to thank the nurses and doctors and the trauma team; everyone who cared for me," he said. "I have never really been scared away from a challenge. I'm not scared to run into a burning building. Still not scared. Still not afraid of a challenge. I definitely would like to return to the (firehouse)."

Smothers will soon start a course of outpatient rehabilitation to set him onto his next journey of one day returning to the firehouse.

About MedStar National Rehabilitation Network

The MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is a regional system of rehabilitation care that offers inpatient, day treatment and outpatient services in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.

The Network’s interdisciplinary team of rehabilitation experts provides comprehensive services to help people recover as fully as possible following illness and injury. Rehabilitation medicine specialists, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists work hand-in-hand with other rehab professionals to design treatment plans tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Rehabilitation plans feature a team approach and include the use of state-of-the-art technology and advanced medical treatment based on the latest rehabilitation research.

The Network provides comprehensive programs specifically designed to aid in the rehabilitation of adults and children recovering from neurologic and orthopedic conditions such as amputation, arthritis, back and neck pain, brain injury, cancer, cardiac conditions, concussion, fibromyalgia, foot and ankle disorders, hand and upper extremity problems, post-polio syndrome, stroke, spinal cord injury and disease, and sports and work-related injuries.

Inpatient and day treatment programs are provided at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital located in Northwest Washington, D.C., and at more than 50 outpatient sites conveniently located throughout the region. MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is fully accredited by The Joint Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), with CARF accredited specialty programs for Amputations, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke.

For more on MedStar National Rehabilitation Network and to find a location near you, log on to

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact

Derek T.Berry

Director of Communications


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