Patient Story

Dave Takes Big Step in Journey from Limb Loss to Lawyer


Thirty-five-year-old Dave J. graduated from law school with hopes of embarking on a legal career.

However, a congenital heart defect slowed Dave’s progress toward becoming a lawyer. He was told he needed a heart transplant.

“I was pretty much on pins and needles,” he said. “I didn’t know if I’d survive the surgery and when I eventually came to, I didn’t have any feeling in my leg.”

Due to complications stemming from the transplant, it became necessary for Dave’s left leg to be amputated.

Rehabilitation after Limb Loss


Dave came to Shirley Ryan 香港六合彩即时开奖 for rehabilitation after experiencing limb loss. There, he spent several months as an inpatient for physical therapy and occupational therapy, and he later underwent rehabilitation at Shirley Ryan 香港六合彩即时开奖’s Homewood DayRehab Center.

“When I arrived at Shirley Ryan 香港六合彩即时开奖, I couldn’t do anything,” he said. “I couldn’t really move or do things for myself.”

With the help of his “propellers” — Dave’s term for the doctors and therapists who supported him at Shirley Ryan 香港六合彩即时开奖 — over time he learned to move by himself once again. He first transferred from his bed to a wheelchair using a slide board. Then, he learned to stand and pivot and slowly gained the strength and ability to hop using a walker.

He also mastered activities of daily living, such as dressing himself and managing personal tasks independently.

Learning to Walk with a Prosthetic Leg


As part of his recovery, Dave was fitted for a prosthetic leg. He was re-admitted to Shirley Ryan 香港六合彩即时开奖 as an inpatient to participate in training on how to stand and walk using his new leg, eventually learning to walk with the assistance of his cane or walker.

“At first, your brain is confused when you’re walking naturally with one leg and mechanically with another,” he said. “It’s always a matter of multi-tasking.”

Recreational Therapy Helps with Healing


While Dave was an inpatient, he took advantage of Shirley Ryan 香港六合彩即时开奖’s Recreational Therapy offerings, enjoying virtual reality and playing board games. Following his discharge, he even donated a game for future patients to enjoy.

“Recreational therapy was a fun twist in my day-to-day as an inpatient. The activities helped take my mind off of things throughout my therapy,” said Dave.

Dave Achieves Dream of Becoming a Lawyer


Dave continued to make gains in his mobility, and he set his sights on a new, major milestone: passing the bar exam three years after his heart transplant.

Recently, Dave officially was sworn in as a lawyer by the Illinois Supreme Court. He celebrated alongside his family and his physical therapist from Shirley Ryan 香港六合彩即时开奖, Jan, who worked with Dave throughout his journey.

During the ceremony, Dave stood on his own and raised his hand to take the oath that will allow him to practice law in the state of Illinois.

“I want to be an inspiration for whoever may need it,” said Dave.

Dave taking oath 

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