Way to go Herb, You Hit a Home Run!

Seattle Mariner fan, patient Herb Blackinton teamed up with Speech Language Pathologist Kathleen MacPherson along with the rest of the team players at the Regional Hospital, a long-term acute care (LTAC) facility in Seattle, WA. to make a remarkable recovery! Herb arrived at the Regional Hospital with a tracheostomy and on mechanical ventilation. He was unable to produce speech and had a PEG tube for nutrition. Herb was struggling to wean from mechanical ventilation for many weeks and was very ill.

Kathleen and her team decided because Herb was so intentional about his communication and had so many wonderful friends and family visiting that it was time to try the Passy Muir® Valve (PMV) even though his vent settings were still high. During his first attempt to use the PMV his voice and protective cough were very strong. Herb said, “I love this PMV! Why didn’t we try it sooner?”

As his medical condition began improving, his use of the PMV became longer and longer. He was now able to begin swallowing ice chips, sips of water and his favorite, ice cream! Soon Herb was weaned from the ventilator and was wearing his PMV from morning to night. His friends and family were thrilled to be able to communicate and laugh with him all day! Then, Herb was able to get decannulated!

One day Herb’s wife Janice told Kathleen about a special award that Herb would be receiving from the (Jamie) Moyer Foundation for his gifts of time, talent and treasure. The Moyer Foundation provides comfort, hope and healing to children affected by loss and family addiction. Herb was not strong enough to go to the Seattle Convention Center to receive this award himself. So we brought the party to Herb! Friends, family and staff were all present to see Herb receive this award directly from former Mariner and All-Star pitcher, Jamie Moyer, and his wife, Karen, who made a surprise visit. This remarkable award is a testament to his generous spirit and outreach to our community.

Herb was able to use his voice to return thanks to all those who supported him through his lengthy recovery. His contagious spirit and positive outlook have had a profound impact on our Regional Team. Herb has moved on to rehab with hopes to return home soon. Way to go Herb, you hit a home run!

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