New robotics center opens in the Lehigh Valley to patients needing rehabilitation
CENTER VALLEY, PA - With a smile from ear to ear, Mikena Garza proudly walked down the hallway of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital with help from the Trexo robotic device.
"It kind of just really helps me walk better and improve my, like, straightening out my legs and me taking more steps,” said Garza. Walking does not come easy to the Lehigh Township girl as she was born with cerebral palsy.
"Her mobility has gotten much better with this,” said her mother, Minalix Rodriguez.
Her family watched, matching Garza’s smile, as she showed off the technology at the unveiling of the The Fleming Center for Robotics in Rehabilitation, on Thursday.
"At Good Shepherd most of the robotics we use today help people who would otherwise not be able to get up and walk, it actually allows him to stand up and walk through the use of wearing some sort of robotic device or robotic technology.” said Michael Spigel, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation's President and CEO.
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation’s new hospital in Center Valley now has this hub for robotics and wearable technology, made possible by the Fleming Foundation. The non-profit was created by the late businessman and philanthropist Richard Fleming and is now led by his daughter, Trinka Arnold.
“My father was always a very innovative entrepreneurial kind of guy, he always wanted to push the envelope, as they say, do something that perhaps nobody had ever done before, and never be satisfied with the status quo and so the fit here just seemed perfect.”Trinka Arnold
“My father was always a very innovative entrepreneurial kind of guy, he always wanted to push the envelope, as they say, do something that perhaps nobody had ever done before, and never be satisfied with the status quo and so the fit here just seemed perfect,” said Arnold.
"When I heard that there was a need for assistance in the area of robotic technology within rehabilitation, this was all completely new to me, of course, but it just sounded like a perfect fit for an area for the Fleming Foundation to support.”
The Fleming Center for Robotics in Rehabilitation uses technology to assist those who may not have full mobility.
Spigel said the creation of this center will support their investment in leading-edge technology. “The way to think about what robotics are, and how they're used, is kind of at a broad generalization, think of some external device that you may wear that allows you to do something like reach your arm, or take a step or walk.”
Good Shepherd is the only rehabilitation provider in the country that has all the different levels of Trexo robotic devices for kids, like the one used by Garza.
Arnold said bringing healthcare technology is a priority to the Fleming Foundation, so people don’t have to travel far for care. "It's very important because we want to take care of people close to home. Nobody wants to have to drive to Philadelphia or drive to New York or drive wherever else it is and so it is an absolute joy and a pleasure to help our local community with these kinds of needs,” she said.
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital opened in Center Valley in July and serves more than 250,000 outpatients and 1,000 inpatients per year.