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He might not make it.”

That’s what doctors told Andrea Blackwell of Smithdale as they rushed her 24-year-old son, John, to a Jackson hospital on March 18. His oxygen level was dangerously low, due to a severe case of COVID-19.

“I was bluish-gray, that’s what one of my ICU nurses told me,” John said. “Obviously, I don’t remember that.”

John spent 106 days in Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, much of that time on a respirator.

For over four years, Robert Schafhirt of Gulfport has been driving to Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetic’s Hattiesburg clinic for his prosthetic needs.

“We make a day trip of it,” said his wife, Sharon. “Your health is the most important thing, so we would have gone anywhere that’s right for him. And we know we’re with the right people.”

It was her first visit to Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s new Recovery After COVID Clinic.

Yet Stacie Smith felt sure that clinic physician Dr. Michael Montesi would understand her symptoms. She’d already met the family practitioner when both rehabbed from COVID-19 at MRC.

“It was my first day of therapy, and I realized he had COVID just as bad as me, and he was walking without a walker or cane—that was very inspiring,” said the Jackson respiratory therapist.

Though Derrick Freeman and Mike Bossetta have often crossed paths in the therapy gym at Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s stroke recovery program over the past month, neither may have realized just how much they have in common.

Both have a background in law enforcement. The 64-year-old Bossetta worked as a detective for the New Orleans Police department for 27 years, while the 39-year-old Freeman is a sergeant for the Adams County Sheriff’s Department.

And both suffered strokes despite being relatively fit and healthy.

Christy Henderson of Pearl gave up horseback riding after Parkinson’s disease made it difficult to stay in the saddle.

“I get so stiff when I’m up there, it’s not fun anymore,” she said.

But Henderson still gets a kick out of helping people with special needs enjoy the sport at RideABILITY Therapeutic Riding Center in Brandon.

So when a series of recent falls threatened that pastime, Henderson took action. She started doing LSVT Big, an intense therapy program for movement problems related to Parkinson’s.

As she brushed her teeth one morning in November, Trenton Miller noticed something odd.

Water was dripping from the left side of her mouth. By afternoon, her adjacent facial muscles were also on the fritz.

The symptoms could have signaled a stroke. But Miller was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a type of paralysis that temporarily freezes muscles in the face.

“I had no expression,” said the 52-year-old Madison resident. “It’s weird to look at yourself in the mirror and not be able to move your face as hard as you try.”

Methodist Rehabilitation Center has announced 2020 Clinical and Support Service Employees of the Year for its Jackson hospital and external campuses.

The honorees include Aubrey Seay of Memphis, north Mississippi nurse liaison; Lionel “Griff” Griffin of Jackson, security supervisor for MRC’s main campus; Wes Myers of Jackson, physical therapy assistant for Methodist Outpatient Therapy’s orthopedic clinic in Flowood; and Susan Mitchell of Terry, a billing coordinator at Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetics in Flowood.

Before heading to work during February’s ice storm, Dr. Patrick Wright spent the morning pulling sleds behind his riding lawn mower.

It was great fun for his family. But Mississippi’s rare sledding weather proved treacherous for some rookie riders.

By afternoon, Wright and three of his colleagues were treating a blizzard of broken bones at Children’s of Mississippi in Jackson.

“I think I fixed about a half-dozen fractured legs in just 48 hours,” said the pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

Arash Sepehri of Madison has been named director of Quality Management and Medical Informatics for Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.

Sepehri has a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Indiana University and a master’s in clinical psychology from Spalding University.

He joined MRC’s neuropsychology staff in 2005 and most recently served as Spinal Cord Injury Care Coordinator and Research Coordinator.





Dobrivoje Stokic of Ridgeland, M.D., D.Sc, has been named vice president of research and innovation at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.

Dr. Stokic is a senior scientist for MRC’s Center for Neuroscience and Neurological Recovery and most recently served as the hospital’s administrative director of research. During his tenure, the CNNR received more than $8 million from external funding and more than $9 million from the donor-supported Wilson Research Foundation at MRC.