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Stories of Healing Joyful Patients: Trevor

“Before we came here, we heard that Marianjoy worked miracles. But now that we’ve come here, we know absolutely, hands-down, that they do. Marianjoy will take care of you, from the day you get here till the day you’re 100%. Our experience here is better than I could have imagined—it’s just been phenomenal.”

Trevor Detloff began his last year of preschool this autumn, after an active summer full of running, playing on the swing set, riding his bike, swimming lessons, and more. A middle child, with two sisters, he can’t wait for his baby sibling due in November—“he’s hoping for a brother,” says his father, Joel, laughing. Playing a game with his speech therapist, he looks just like any other five-year-old. You’d never guess that just six months ago, Trevor almost died in a swimming accident.

At a big family party in April, Trevor was playing in the pool with about a dozen other kids and several adults around. When Trevor’s uncle noticed Trevor was underwater, he immediately dove in, fully clothed, and pulled Trevor to the surface.

Everyone jumped to action—“It was a team effort,” Joel says. “Without everyone being where they were positioned, we would not be sitting here today.” Fortunately, Joel is a CPR instructor and knew what to do. “I was in a zone,” he explains, “and I started chest compressions and breaths right away. I was happy when he spat water on me, because that meant I’d gotten it all out of his lungs,” Joel says. Family members called 9-1-1, and the police and paramedics soon arrived at the scene. However, the doctors determined that Trevor had been underwater, deprived of oxygen, for approximately forty-five seconds—resulting in an anoxic brain injury.

Trevor spent five days in pediatric ICU before being moved to the pediatric unit of an acute hospital for another week. When the time came to transfer to a rehabilitation facility, his parents were nervous. “He was basically in a vegetable state. He would mostly just lay there and sometimes make eye contact. He wasn’t moving his arms and legs.” Full of trepidation, the Detloffs were presented with two options; one was Marianjoy.

“We had friends and a neighbor who had gone to Marianjoy, so we were familiar with it,” says Amy. Their doctor recommended another rehab location as a possibility, too, so the family toured both facilities. The decision was quick and clear: “The other facility didn’t meet what we wanted, needed, expected,” says Joel, “but Marianjoy met 100% of what we wanted for Trevor. As soon as we drove in, it had a peaceful feeling, like you’ll heal at your own rate; your whole body will heal at the same time.”

The Detloffs explain that Marianjoy offered them a sense of serenity and community that was so welcome during such a tumultuous time in their family’s lives. “The facilities and the people who work here are wonderful—
everybody, from the guy who shovels the parking lot in the wintertime, up to the CEO.” Joel and Amy describe how Trevor loves that everyone has gotten to know him, including a front desk clerk and a cafeteria worker. Joel recalls: “When we got to the first hospital, they explained to us that it’d be like a roller coaster—and that’s exactly what it was. But as soon as we got to Marianjoy, the roller coaster went straight up and didn’t come back down.” Amy agrees: “Literally, there were no bad days here.”

An Exceptional Marianjoy Pediatric Team

The Detloffs credit Dr. Mary Keen, Medical Director of the Marianjoy Pediatric Program, as well as the Marianjoy Pediatric Team as instrumental to Trevor’s rapid recovery. “With anoxic brain injuries, the first month is a crucial stage of healing—we want nothing to interfere with long-term recovery—and no two cases are alike,” Dr. Keen explains. “It was important for us to make sure Trevor had everything he needed.”

At Marianjoy, a team of expert clinicians develops an individualized treatment plan for each patient. The therapists actually had to reset Trevor’s goals within the first few days of his stay because he quickly surpassed them. “They were phenomenal,” Joel says. “Dr. Keen had Trevor’s timeline set the day she met him, and she adjusted his medication. Here, you’re treated like a human, not a robot. We got the treatment we needed—more personalized.”

If the Detloffs were incredulous at the initial four-week projection of Trevor’s inpatient recovery, they were downright astonished when he finished in three. While they saw how much their son had recovered, they were worried his progress would slow once he got home. They attribute the smooth transition to their case manager, who said that Marianjoy would take care of it. “Marianjoy explained to us that that’s where the intense therapy comes in—it’s all-day therapy. He’d be keeping up with his sisters—and that he did, as we chased after him,” says Amy, laughing. Joel agrees: “He’s running, he’s walking, he’s riding his bike. He’s got his little five-year-old attitude back! I can’t say enough. It’s been an unbelievable ride. We came from basically nothing, and three weeks later, Marianjoy gave us Trevor back.”

The Detloffs also thank God for saving Trevor. “We had people around the world praying for Trevor—Africa, Indonesia, Russia,” says Joel. “We have a huge network of churches. We had the power of prayer and faith behind us—we had Trevor in Marianjoy’s hands.”

As for Trevor, he couldn’t be happier. He even got to do this summer what every little kid dreams of: go to Disney World. “When the accident happened, we were going to cancel the trip, because we didn’t think we were going to be able to go,” says Amy. After talking to Trevor’s neurologist and physical therapist, however, they got the approval. Trevor got to go on every ride he wanted to, and he didn’t even need a wheelchair to navigate the long walks. The family did bring a stroller to help out when he got tired.

When Joel is asked if he has advice for other parents, he responds: “It’s going to be a tough road. There will be up days, there will be down days. Just let time heal; time is the answer. You can’t expect three months of healing in one day.” He and Amy say that in choosing a rehabilitation hospital, it’s important not to let size or distance be the determining factors. “Let other people’s experience speak for itself,” says Joel. Let Marianjoy do what they need to do—they know what they’re doing, believe me!”

Now, Trevor is back at home and back in school. He enjoys playing with his sisters and his cousin, who’s his best friend. He already loves his soon-to-be-born sibling: “He’s feeling my stomach and talking to it,” says Amy, smiling. Trevor is still undergoing outpatient therapy, too, and continuing to recover and progress even more. “His personality and determination throughout his course of treatment has truly been inspiring,” says Mandy Hammack-Cote, physical therapist.

“We understand that every case is different,” says Joel. “Trevor did not progress normally; he progressed miraculously,” Amy adds. Joel agrees: “Trevor is our witness—he is Marianjoy’s witness—that miracles do happen and things can work out for the best,” says Joel.