2014 Women in Philanthropy Luncheon The Roseann Sdoia Story

Thursday, December 4, 2014  •  Foundation Spotlight

When the Lakeland Regional Medical Center Foundation hosted its annual Women in Philanthropy Luncheon on November 5, 2014, the room was packed with eager guests who experienced a powerful and emotional story of hope and recovery.

On April 15, 2013, Roseann Sdoia took to the streets of Boston. Her path was familiar, one she had taken every year since childhood. Watch a baseball game. Catch a glimpse of the Boston Marathon runners crossing the finish line. Enjoy a beautiful Patriots Day holiday.

She wound her way through town, making her way to a local restaurant where she would meet some friends and await notification that others, who were running in the race, were nearing the finish line. When the text came, she found a vantage point that she knew would allow her to see her friends from afar and get their attention.

And then, chaos and tragedy.

“I remember the first bomb going off, and I didn’t really know what happened. People were running everywhere, and something inside me knew that I had to run, too,” she said. “And then I saw two bright, white flashes.”

The second bomb exploded almost directly below her feet.

Roseann found herself on the ground, seeing a pool of blood spreading out around her. She closed her eyes and focused on her breathing while first responders stemmed her bleeding.

Through the pain and shock, Roseann asked to be taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, part of the Partners Healthcare system, and the location of her primary care physician’s practice. She wanted to be in the hands of people she trusted.

For Roseann, the actual bombing was just the beginning of her journey. The trauma physician at Massachusetts General was forced to amputate her right leg above the knee. This, along with other injuries, kept her in ICU for weeks until she could be moved to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, another component of Partners Healthcare.

The ability to keep her treatment within her home health system was instrumental in Roseann’s mental and emotional recovery. As she transitioned, she was able to work with physicians, nurses, therapists and other providers who remained by her side throughout her journey, allowing her to build trust and camaraderie with her caregivers. She was also one of the first patients to be treated in Spaulding’s new, state-of-the-art facility, where loved ones were able to stay with her throughout her treatment.

“Just having that fold-out couch was huge,” she said. “Just being able to have my mom or my friend stay the night with me meant so much.”

Now, more than a year later, Roseann continues to find support in the family that she grew while in Spaulding. She visits often, and returns almost every month to participate in group therapy sessions. In addition, she is working with specialized therapists who are helping her regain the active lifestyle she enjoyed before the bombing.

Roseann’s story demonstrates the tremendous physical and psychological need for stability that trauma patients experience. Continuity of care and the support of loved ones play a massive role in patient outcomes. Roseann believes so much in this stability, she donated her speaker fee to the Bannasch Institute for Advanced Rehabilitation Medicine so that people in our community, more than 1,300 miles away from her home, can benefit from the same kind of care that she received.

“Having your life change so dramatically is overwhelming,” she said. “I know, first hand, how important it is to have your support structure nearby while you recover. What Lakeland Regional is doing will be an amazing benefit to your patients and families.”