Prannava Sethuraman, senior associate vice president of a ceramic fiber products company in Ranipet, India, was in Augusta for a global conference when he and his colleagues were involved in a motor vehicle accident on Feb. 15, 2017. Prannava was treated for trauma at Augusta University Medical Center. His injuries resulted in paraplegia, paralysis of the legs and lower body typically caused by disease or in Prannava’s case, spinal cord injury.
Family members in India were notified and able to obtain Visas to fly to the United States arriving within 10 days of the accident. The Central Savannah River Area’s Indian community surprised Prannava and his family with support. They picked up the family from the Atlanta airport, brought them to Augusta and organized meals and delivered them to the hospital.
Prannava and his family chose HealthSouth Walton Rehabilitation Hospital for his inpatient rehabilitation so they could stay in Augusta for his therapy, remaining close to his trauma team for follow-up visits, get Prannava fit to fly home and due to a shorter length of stay with a more intensive therapy program, allow him to return home sooner.
Prannava was admitted to HealthSouth Walton on March 3, 2017.
“I was new to this and didn’t really know what to expect on my first day, but the staff went above and beyond to take special care of me,” Prannava said.
The rehabilitation team at HealthSouth Walton, including regular visits from an independent practice physician and 24-hour care from nurses, would help Prannava learn a new normal through a customized, intensive therapy plan.
“The staff at HealthSouth Walton was like family,” said Prannava. “My therapist wanted me to use my upper body to roll over and I never thought I would be able to do so, but I surprised myself and was able to do it before leaving the hospital. My upper body strength continues to improve.”
As an international patient, Prannava’s coordination of care was unique compared to other patients. From day one, the goal was to prepare the patient and family to fly home. The HealthSouth Walton team worked closely together to ensure he would be flight ready on his discharge date. A medical flight was scheduled to transport him from Augusta, Georgia back to India to Christian Medical College and Hospital, where his treatment would continue. Physicians and HealthSouth Walton case managers spoke directly with the flight team and the hospital in India to ensure he could be safely transported abroad. His medical equipment was measured and weighed to make sure it could be accommodated on the small aircraft that would stop approximately six times to refuel over the 30 hour estimated flight to India. On the day of discharge, the flight team arrived at HealthSouth Walton for a direct handoff of the patient, who was then transported by ambulance to the awaiting aircraft as he was wished farewell by staff, his co-workers and others from the Indian community.
“We have made lifelong friends here in Augusta,” said Prannava, who left Augusta with photos and addresses of his new friends.
Prannava was recently able to return to work.