Thomas Eckel

Husband, Engineer, Volunteer, Paradigm Hero

Driving home from work one day, Thomas Eckel saw his life change forever. A head on collision resulted in a coma with injuries so severe doctors feared he would not survive. Paradigm Network Manager Dorothee Custer, RN, met his family and caregivers at the hospital and worked with the Paradigm Management Team to develop a traumatic brain injury recovery plan that included appropriate rehabilitation, a return to his home environment and a long-term goal of returning to work.

With the help of Tom and his loving wife, Sabina, the Paradigm team provided expert consultation to his care providers and coordinated all of his medical services. The recovery plan provided early access to acute rehabilitation at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and a community re-entry program at The Bridge at HealthSouth in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This enabled him to return to work as an engineer. He has also returned to enjoying his favorite pastimes, boating and sport fishing.

"Dorothee's an expert in the field and she gave us the right path to follow,” says Tom. “It meant a lot to my wife, and to me, that she had somebody there that could tell her what to do and could help her with her decisions."

Tom was determined to overcome the challenges of a complex and difficult recovery. His desire to be as active as he was prior to the accident, and his willingness to volunteer by assisting other catastrophically injured people, are qualities that make Tom a truly incredible man—one we proudly call a "Paradigm Hero."