Friday, August 29, 2008

Thank You, Tammy!

From David Rotter, Scheck & Siress prosthetist:
In my work, preserving the confidentiality and privacy of patients is a sacred trust. Taking the best possible care of them is my one and only focus.

But in some cases, patients are open, and sometimes eager, to share their stories with the public. Often it's because they have a passionate cause they want to share. Such is the case with Tammy Duckworth.

Tammy gave me permission to mention my care of her because she is fighting for something that goes well beyond her own situation. A helicopter co-pilot with the National Guard, she was flying a 2004 mission in Iraq when insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grendade that struck her copter. Tammy lost both of her legs and suffered damage to her right arm.

After a close race for Congress, Tammy was named Director of the Illinois Veterans' Affairs Department two years ago by Gov. Rod Blagojevich. That post has enabled Tammy to engage in public service by tirelessly advocating for a variety of issues, including the appropriate level of care for fellow veterans.

Along with millions of other Americans, I watched Tammy's speech on Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. My post yesterday includes a video of Tammy's speech, followed by Tammy using her prostheses to stride triumphantly off the stage.

Regardless of one's political leanings, I have to believe that there is universal respect and gratitude for the sacrifices that Tammy has made for us all.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tammy Duckworth at The DNC

From David Rotter, Scheck & Siress prosthetist:

Last night, Tammy Duckworth, one of my patients, spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. She gave me permission to share more information, but for now, visit this site to see Tammy's six-minute talk.

Also the SouthtownStar had a nice feature that included mention of the role that I played in preparing Tammy for her trip to the convention. You can see that article here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cheering On Melissa Stockwell

David Rotter, Scheck & Siress prosthetist, shares the first of what will be many blog entries on his upcoming trip to the Paralympic Games in Beijing, China:

While there has been a huge amount of attention deservedly given to the Olympics in Beijing this month, I am excited to be headed there on September 4 for another global series of competitions: the Paralympic Games.

I’ll be there cheering on Melissa Stockwell, who is competing as a swimmer for the U.S. Paralympic Team. She is so sincerely looking forward to representing her country—I want to experience that and I want to support her in that.

I first met Melissa last year when she began an internship as a prosthetist here at Scheck & Siress. Since then, I have been humbled and impressed by her dedication. She is the quintessential success story of someone who believes with all of her heart and all of her soul.

When she enlisted in the U.S. Army, she was firm in her conviction that she was undertaking a noble endeavor. Later, when she was wounded in Iraq—losing her left leg in the process—instead of feeling like a victim or developing a negative association with what happened to her, she turned that around into one of the best possible positive things that she could.

She began swimming at Walter Reed Medical Center as part of her rehabilitation, and for the past year she’s expanded on that from being a therapeutic tool to a way to get a medal for her country.

She was a longshot to make the U.S. team. She really had to put the work in. As determined and as focused as she is, to cut her time in the 400-meter freestyle by 20 seconds (and set a U.S. record along the way) is astounding. amazing.

I am so proud that rather than view her disability as a limitation, she is using it as a motivator now to go to the fullest extent of her own capabilities. To learn more about Melissa, you can check out her blog as well as the video (below) from a May 2008 Chicago Blade Runners' session.