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New Vehicle To Help CHRISTUS Rehab Patients

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Kevin Meerschaert
/
KSFR-FM
The Mazda modified at SFCC will be used for rehabilitation patients to practice getting in and out of vehicles.

Rehabilitation patients at CHRISTUS Regional Medical Center will now have a vehicle to practice getting in and out of thanks to a collaboration including Santa Fe Community College and late former Mayor Javier Gonzales.

It began about a year and a half ago when CHRISTUS Rehabilitation Services Director Russell Stowers had a conversation with Gonzales, who at the time was Vice-President and Chief Development Officer of the St. Vincent Hospital Foundation.

Stowers told Gonzales about the need for a vehicle for patients who needed to practice vehicle transfers as part of their rehabilitation.

Stowers says they had been using vehicles they could borrow, but needed something permanent.
He says it’s important in the rehab for stroke or hip fracture victims.       

“As you can imagine after you’ve had a hip fracture, you don’t have the same mobility in your hip and your knee as you did before so you have to learn how to protect the hip and also get in and out of the car,” he said. “They have to get into the car to go to their doctor’s appointments and to see their orthopedic surgeon…so we have to show them how to do that safely with maybe a little bit of help before they leave the hospital.”

Gonzales contacted SFCC Automotive Technologies program director Julia Furry who welcomed the chance to help with automotive faculty member Allen Mirabel. They chose a Mazda that had been donated to the school, met with hospital staff, cut out the engine portion of the vehicle and modified it for the rehab department’s needs.

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Kevin Meerschaert
/
KSFR-FM
The vehicle had its engine compartment removed for the rehabilitation uses.

The vehicle will be placed in the courtyard next to the rehabilitation department facility and now has a “Javier” license plate in honor of the late former Mayor.

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.