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  • June 29, 2021

    COLUMBIA, MD - MedStar Health has launched a groundbreaking program designed to meet the needs of patients dealing with post-COVID conditions, such as Long COVID. Long COVID is diagnosed when COVID survivors experience persisting symptoms for weeks and even several months after they’ve recovered from the acute stage of the illness.

    Dr. Eric Wisotzky
    Dr. Eric Wisotzky

    “As we started to see more and more people becoming ill with COVID, we started to notice that patients were not just bouncing back right away, but were left with many different lingering symptoms affecting different parts of the body,” said Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician Eric Wisotzky, MD, who serves as medical director of the program. “We quickly responded by building the MedStar Health COVID Recovery Program to respond to these needs.”

    The COVID Recovery Program coordinates the care of COVID-19 patients across a wide range of MedStar Health services to treat fatigue, pain, persistent shortness of breath, headache, thinking, focus, and memory issues, weakness, and other varying symptoms reported by some COVID-19 patients following their recovery from the initial stages of the virus.

    Patients are paired with a physician or advanced practice provider to evaluate symptoms and develop a care plan through either a telehealth appointment or a visit to MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C., or MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore. From there, a patient navigator sets up appointments and follow ups for all the specific treatments they may need, which saves valuable time and energy.

    Some patients with serious cases of COVID-19, like Patrick Bright, 56, of Clinton, MD, require several different types of care following their infection. After a month long stay at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital battling the coronavirus in the Spring of 2020, Bright began physical therapy, occupational therapy, and therapy for heart failure caused by the virus.

    “Now I’m at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center for cardiac rehabilitation. Because I live so close, they’re allowing me to do my therapy there,” Bright said. “I’m so happy to be here. I just thank God for the medical staff at MedStar Health.”

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    Another patient taking advantage of the program is professional violinist Elise Blake, 38, of Washington, D.C., who spent six days at MedStar Washington Hospital Center with COVID-19 in November 2020. After overcoming her initial symptoms, Blake found that her ability to play violin at a high level had diminished.

    “You check for flow. You check for technique. Even when you’re learning a new piece, you know how to fix problems,” she said. “I just had to kind of stop for a while. I was really weak.”

    Blake was referred to the COVID Recovery Program where Dr. Wisotzky evaluated her symptoms and set her up with regular appointments to see specialists in pulmonology, neurology, and physical therapy. Over time, the strength and dexterity needed to play professional violin has returned. She is now back teaching students virtually and performing in outdoor concerts as venues start to reopen.

    Elise Blake

    “The thing I liked about the program was that it was so comprehensive,” Blake said. “It would have taken a lot more effort to set up all the appointments on my own when I didn’t have the energy. I’m convinced it helped me heal better because it was more streamlined.”

    “Through this whole team we’re really able to help people get back to their old selves,” said Wisotzky.

    Patients interested in the COVID Recovery Program should be at least six weeks removed from the start of COVID symptoms and should have documentation of at least one positive COVID-19 test. If a documented positive test is not available, patients can be referred by a primary care provider.

    For more information, visit medstarhealth.org/COVIDRecovery.


    About MedStar Health
    At MedStar Health, we use the best of our minds and the best of our hearts to serve our patients, those who care for them, and our communities. Our 30,000 associates and 4,700 affiliated physicians are committed to living this promise through our core SPIRIT values—Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork—across our more than 300 locations including 10 hospitals, ambulatory, and urgent care centers. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health is training future physician leaders to care for the whole person and is advancing care through the MedStar Health Research Institute. From our telemedicine and urgent care services to the region’s largest home health agency, we’re committed to providing high-quality health care that’s also easy and convenient for our patients. At MedStar Health—It’s how we treat people. Learn more at MedStarHealth.org.

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  • June 29, 2021

    COLUMBIA, MD - MedStar Health has launched a groundbreaking program designed to meet the needs of patients dealing with post-COVID conditions, such as Long COVID. Long COVID is diagnosed when COVID survivors experience persisting symptoms for weeks and even several months after they’ve recovered from the acute stage of the illness.

    Dr. Eric Wisotzky
    Dr. Eric Wisotzky

    “As we started to see more and more people becoming ill with COVID, we started to notice that patients were not just bouncing back right away, but were left with many different lingering symptoms affecting different parts of the body,” said Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician Eric Wisotzky, MD, who serves as medical director of the program. “We quickly responded by building the MedStar Health COVID Recovery Program to respond to these needs.”

    The COVID Recovery Program coordinates the care of COVID-19 patients across a wide range of MedStar Health services to treat fatigue, pain, persistent shortness of breath, headache, thinking, focus, and memory issues, weakness, and other varying symptoms reported by some COVID-19 patients following their recovery from the initial stages of the virus.

    Patients are paired with a physician or advanced practice provider to evaluate symptoms and develop a care plan through either a telehealth appointment or a visit to MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C., or MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore. From there, a patient navigator sets up appointments and follow ups for all the specific treatments they may need, which saves valuable time and energy.

    Some patients with serious cases of COVID-19, like Patrick Bright, 56, of Clinton, MD, require several different types of care following their infection. After a month long stay at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital battling the coronavirus in the Spring of 2020, Bright began physical therapy, occupational therapy, and therapy for heart failure caused by the virus.

    “Now I’m at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center for cardiac rehabilitation. Because I live so close, they’re allowing me to do my therapy there,” Bright said. “I’m so happy to be here. I just thank God for the medical staff at MedStar Health.”

    play button

    Another patient taking advantage of the program is professional violinist Elise Blake, 38, of Washington, D.C., who spent six days at MedStar Washington Hospital Center with COVID-19 in November 2020. After overcoming her initial symptoms, Blake found that her ability to play violin at a high level had diminished.

    “You check for flow. You check for technique. Even when you’re learning a new piece, you know how to fix problems,” she said. “I just had to kind of stop for a while. I was really weak.”

    Blake was referred to the COVID Recovery Program where Dr. Wisotzky evaluated her symptoms and set her up with regular appointments to see specialists in pulmonology, neurology, and physical therapy. Over time, the strength and dexterity needed to play professional violin has returned. She is now back teaching students virtually and performing in outdoor concerts as venues start to reopen.

    Elise Blake

    “The thing I liked about the program was that it was so comprehensive,” Blake said. “It would have taken a lot more effort to set up all the appointments on my own when I didn’t have the energy. I’m convinced it helped me heal better because it was more streamlined.”

    “Through this whole team we’re really able to help people get back to their old selves,” said Wisotzky.

    Patients interested in the COVID Recovery Program should be at least six weeks removed from the start of COVID symptoms and should have documentation of at least one positive COVID-19 test. If a documented positive test is not available, patients can be referred by a primary care provider.

    For more information, visit medstarhealth.org/COVIDRecovery.


    About MedStar Health
    At MedStar Health, we use the best of our minds and the best of our hearts to serve our patients, those who care for them, and our communities. Our 30,000 associates and 4,700 affiliated physicians are committed to living this promise through our core SPIRIT values—Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork—across our more than 300 locations including 10 hospitals, ambulatory, and urgent care centers. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health is training future physician leaders to care for the whole person and is advancing care through the MedStar Health Research Institute. From our telemedicine and urgent care services to the region’s largest home health agency, we’re committed to providing high-quality health care that’s also easy and convenient for our patients. At MedStar Health—It’s how we treat people. Learn more at MedStarHealth.org.

  • July 16, 2018

    WASHINGTON, D.C., – July 13, 2018 – Tyrell Williams, linebacker with the Georgetown University football team, has been doing his outpatient rehabilitation here at MedStar Health Physical Therapy at Irving Street in D.C., for several months now, following a career-ending spinal cord injury suffered during a game in 2015.

    Williams told NBC4’s Nicole Jacobs he remembers the moment very well. “It was the fifth or sixth play of the game, maybe near the 10-yard line,” he said. “I heard a snap and a tingle.”

    He put his head down for a tackle and his rammed right into an opposing player’s pelvis. The result was a C6 neck injury and paralysis.

    MedStar NRH Network Physical Therapist Katie Seward has been working several hours a week with Ty since he came to Irving Street for physical therapy. He is slowly beginning to gain back some finger control, his arms and a lot of upper body strength. “My core is coming back – my abs, obliques,” adds Ty.

    The 23-year-old is determined with great positivity that he can do anything. He does not look back, only forward. “I don’t want to let the chair decide what I want to do,” he told NBC4. “I want to decide what I want to do.” Seward agrees with that assessment adding that Ty has an excellent support system around him. “He has a very positive attitude and that has really helped him through his physical therapy,” said Seward.

    While Williams continues his physical therapy he will continue to work towards his undergraduate degree before he embarks on a Master’s in sports management at Georgetown.

    Watch the clip from NBC4/WRC-TV here

  • March 27, 2018

    In an instant with the crack of a bullet, the spin of a car, or the sudden burst of vessels in the brain, lives are irrevocably changed. For U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise, the innocence of a baseball game was shattered when a gunman aimed his weapon at the field where members of Congress were practicing for an annual game scheduled for the next evening.

    His grave bullet wounds and his difficult journey through multiple surgeries and infection have been well documented. But like so many other patients with complex injuries, survival is just the first step in a recovery that may continue for months or years.

    When the Congressman left his stay at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, he was immediately admitted to MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital (MedStar NRH). His eight week stay at MedStar NRH demonstrates the critical importance of acute rehabilitation for patients who have suffered serious injury and who continue to have complex medical needs, as well.

    For Congressman Scalise—and other patients with more complicated injury or illness—rehabilitation begins even before they enter the doors of MedStar NRH, explains John Aseff, MD, the physiatrist who cared for Rep. Scalise while in acute rehab.

    Multidisciplinary Care Team
    When the Congressman arrived at MedStar NRH, a team of rehabilitation experts had already been assigned to his care and provided an initial review of his immediate needs.

    Every patient has a multidisciplinary care team that works collaboratively with one another, the patient and the family throughout hospitalization. Physiatrists, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, recreation therapists, neuropsychologists, case managers and dietitians work in concert to develop an individualized treatment plan to help ensure the best possible recovery.

    The care team meets weekly to share updates on the patient’s progress—and to address problems that may impede recovery. “Family meetings are also held to provide the patient and loved ones with a more global picture of the present—and the future,” explains Social Worker Joan McKinon Reeves, LICSW, MedStar NRH director of case managers.

    “From the very beginning of a patient’s hospitalization, we provide an evaluation and create open communication between us and the patient and family,” she adds. “With patients who have more complex injuries, it’s important to understand what kind of support system they have at home and even begin to look at what they may require when they are discharged.

    Rigorous Therapy, Six Days a Week
    Working with patients who have an array of issues, care teams included therapists with special expertise working with patients suffering some type of neurological injury.

    “Some patients need to relearn to walk,” says Meaghan Minzy, PT, DPT. “Our goal in physical therapy is to improve endurance, strengthen a patient’s upper body and help them use their legs.”

    Amanda Summers, MS, OTR/L, ATP, says patients who present with physical weakness need to be mindful of overexertion. “Occupational therapy is focused on improving cardiovascular fitness and strengthening the upper body so that daily living tasks can once again be performed.”

    For three hours-a-day, six-days-a-week, the Congressman pushed himself and his body, moving from wheelchair, to a walker and onto crutches. “In time, he went from walking 20 feet to 200,” says Minzy.

    Progress like this is the result of a patient’s determination, the skill of rehab experts—plus the latest technology, such as FES, functional electrical stimulation to muscles, and the ZeroG® --the robotic body weight support system first developed at MedStar NRH.

    Patients with very complex injuries face enormous challenges as they learn to “accept the injury and adjust to a new normal,” says Minzy. “For us, it never gets old to watch as patients improve and leave us able to move on with their lives.”

  • November 08, 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.