Robert's StoryJun 6, 2019
Robert Conti's Story
As an employee of a local county’s parks department, Robert Conti is one of the hard-working individuals who help maintain the county’s parks and public spaces in optimal conditions for the community’s enjoyment. However, what started as a routine day at work ended with a terrifying twist.
“After Hurricane Matthew hit, my colleagues and I went out to different recreational areas to start the clean-up process,” recalls Robert. “I went up on a cherry picker to cut down hanging tree branches with a power saw, but I had no idea that a powerline was hidden within the foliage. The blade hit the line, I was electrocuted and even caught on fire for a brief moment.”
Robert was rushed to a burn unit in South Florida to receive treatment for his injuries. Once he was well enough to start outpatient therapy, he was referred to the Outpatient Rehabilitation Services at St. Mary’s Medical Center. Robert’s right hand and arm were the most affected after his accident, so one of the hospital’s certified hand therapists worked with him to help regain function in the affected area.
“In addition to having a labor intensive job, I’m also a competitive bodybuilder and spent most of my free time in the gym,” he shares. “I wanted to regain my active lifestyle as soon as possible, so I made sure to put all my effort into the exercises with my therapist as well as on my own.”
When Robert first arrived at St. Mary’s, he had very little movement in his right hand. The skilled occupational therapists initially worked on healing his wounds to help reduce the swelling in his hand, and to also manage the scar tissue limiting his function.
Robert and his therapists worked together during daily, hour to hour and a half sessions to help regain his right shoulder, arm and hand movement as best they could through numerous exercises and stretches. This collaboration, and his strong determination, paid off as he was able to return to the gym less than 6 months after his accident.
“I live in Port St. Lucie and drive an hour to and from my sessions each day, but I know it’s worth the commute because my therapists have helped me come so far in a short amount of time,” he expresses. “I’m confident that I’ll be back to my previous activity level soon enough and I’m so grateful for everything the Outpatient Rehabilitation Services at St. Mary’s Medical Center has done for me.”