Published on May 24, 2019

Silver Cross Staff Custom Builds Equipment for Woman After Spinal Surgery

Katie Chentorycki knows a thing or two about staying in the hospital. In her 32 years, Chentorycki has undergone 20 surgeries. Earlier this year, she came to Silver Cross Hospital to have spinal surgery.

What made this visit stand out for Chentorycki is the care she received from everyone at Silver Cross.

“Everyone was amazing,” she said. “I’m only 3 feet 10 inches tall, so when I got to a regular room everyone made sure I had the right equipment. They would come in to measure me to make sure it would all work. I was beyond ecstatic because they were working so hard to make sure they had everything just right for me. ”

When it came time for rehabilitation, Chentorycki said it was important for her to remain at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Silver Cross, which is close to family and friends.

“They originally wanted to send me to a facility in Chicago, but the procedure was done in January and with the cold weather, I didn’t want people to try to come out and not be able to make it,” she said. “Having that support system close to you I think is one of the most important ways you can heal.”

“Because we focus on function and ability, we were faced with unique challenges of finding the right sized equipment that would best meet Katie’s needs,” said Lora Diaz, Administrative Director of Rehabilitation. 

A thorough search and consultation with multiple vendors and resources was unsuccessful in finding equipment that specifically matched Chentorycki’s height. Her bed, wheelchair, commode and recliner in the hospital room were too high for her to safely get in and out of independently.  With no other options available, materials management and building services were called to assist. They were able to create a very wide and safe platform that Chentorycki was able to step up on to and then easily transition onto her bed, commode and reclining chair.  The team also modified the chair in the room by cutting down the legs to accommodate her.  This made transfers safer for our patient as well as for staff. 

Because of her scoliosis and kyphosis, Chentorycki used a walker to walk around. The bed and chair in the hospital were too high for her to safely get out of so, staff from materials management helped build a platform for Chentorycki so she could easily get out of the hospital bed and safely into her chair. The team also modified the chair in the room to accommodate her height.

“The care and comfort she received from the team was simply exceptional,” said Chentorycki’s mom, Kathy Longton. “They say it takes a village to raise a child. I now know it takes the [Silver Cross] medical team to heal them.”

“I’ve been in hospitals all my life, and no one has ever accommodated me like this,” Chentorycki said. “It was far beyond what I was expecting.”

As far as her surgery, Dr. Anthony Rinella, board-certified spine surgeon, was able to correct her spine by 30 percent, and her rehabilitation is going very well.

Dr. John Mikuzis, board-certified rehabilitation physician, said Chentorycki’s rehab went very smoothly.

“Being able to get up safely and walk around is key to healing especially after spinal surgery,” Dr. Mikuzis said. “The special equipment Katie was given went a long way to helping her get out of bed easily and helped her rehab.”

“They got me some in home help after I was released, and I just finished that about three weeks ago,” Chentorycki said. “I will never forget this experience. Everyone from the doctors, nurses, pain management, they all helped me. I really want everyone to be recognized for all the work they did to help me.”

Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.