Construction starts on new SSM Rehabilitation Center in Bridgeton
$23 million facility will open in late 2011
July 6, 2010 - Suburban Journal, St. Louis
While Frank Doering was getting ready for work on June 18, 2009, he suddenly fell on the floor.
A longtime diabetic, the Hazelwood resident knew this was something different.
"I was laying on the floor and I couldn't get up," Doering, 61, said. "I told my wife to call 911."
Paramedics arrived and suspected he had a stroke. His wife, Barb, wanted them to go to another hospital where his regular doctors were on staff. But the paramedics insisted they go to SSM DePaul Health Center.
It was a wise choice. Doering had suffered a stroke. Rushed into surgery, doctors removed the blood clot that caused the stroke. After rehabilitation, he walked his daughter, Julie, down a church aisle for her wedding five weeks later. His story was filmed by SSM DePaul and is on YouTube under "doering."
The Doerings shared this story with visitors as part of the June 29 ground-breaking ceremony for the new SSM Rehabilitation Hospital on the campus of SSM DePaul Health Center. They talked about how quick surgery and rehabilitation helped him go back to work.
"I still feel a little numb on the left side, but otherwise I feel pretty good," said Doering, who is a chemical engineer at Akermin Inc. "It was great to go back to work."
Work has started on the three-story structure that will have 60 beds in private rooms. Completion on the $23 million project is scheduled for late 2011. Eventually, it will have 150 employees.
The new rehabilitation hospital will help patients with brain, spinal cord and stroke injuries to go back to work, too, CEO Vickie Horst said.
"The demands for a rehab hospital are different than a regular hospital, both for safety and privacy," Horst said. "This is a traumatic experience and it's good to be around people who are going through the same thing you are."
The physical therapy demands need space that isn't usually found in a regular hospital, Horst said. The average stay is about 15 days.
The new hospital will expand the SSM network of rehabilitation services, which includes the St. Joseph and St. Mary's health centers. Staff from the these two health centers will combine to bring experienced workers to the new hospital. The new facility also will free up space at the two health centers, Horst said.
Hospital officials estimate that more than 2,500 patients will be treated annually at the new hospital.
"The rehabilitation centers are incredible places to work in," Horst said. "You see miracles every day."