Health Care

Patient Testimonial: Rhoda Meilik

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Rhoda Meilik was patiently waiting at a red light last April when a car came up behind hers at a high rate of speed and crashed into her.

“They hit me so hard, their car went underneath mine,” she said.

When Rhoda tried to get out of the car, she lifted her left leg but couldn’t get her right leg to move. She was taken by ambulance to Florida Hospital Altamonte, where she was treated but continued to have severe pain in her right leg. Realizing that Rhoda had a spinal injury, the hospital referred her to Dr. Chetan Patel, medical director at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health.

Dr. Patel is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in conservative and minimally invasive treatments. He thoroughly evaluated Rhoda and explained that the severity of her injury necessitated surgery. After answering all of her questions and discussing her treatment options, he admitted Rhoda to the hospital where he performed a laminectomy and spinal fusion.

“The minute I woke up from surgery, the pain in my right leg was gone,” Rhoda said.

Because Rhoda had previously undergone surgery for back pain that left her with significant scar tissue, Dr. Patel needed to remove that tissue as part of her spinal repair. Upon completion of the procedure, he prescribed physical therapy to help get the patient back on her feet. The results for Rhoda were outstanding.

“I had faith in him and my faith was justified,” she said. “I think he genuinely cares and is willing to share whatever information he has with you … he builds that confidence.”

Rhoda credits the staff at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health for helping her heal faster than previous procedures, and describes the level of care she receives each time she walks in the door as “phenomenal.”

“Linda and Debbie at the front desk are extremely helpful and pleasant,” she said. “Just saying ‘Hello, Rhoda’ is a small courtesy, but it means a lot.”

In the past, Rhoda worked with medical professionals at other practices where she felt like the communication and personal care was not what she had wished. So when she was sent to physical therapy at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health, she was naturally hesitant, thinking her experience would be the same.

To her surprise, the care she received from her nurses and physical therapists this time around was “night and day” compared to other offices. Ms. Meilik has been working with Wendy Coomes, a Spine Health physical therapist, since September and believes that Wendy’s caring touch makes a huge difference in her healing.

Though she had never met the team before her accident, they made her feel like they had been friends for years, she said. She has even referred people she knows to the Institute, including her own daughter.

Rhoda says she is “being helped in a way that is making me feel better and heal faster,” and owes her success to the incredible team at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health.

Her message to Dr. Patel and the team: “Thank you and I appreciate you. It has been an unbelievable experience.”

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