Fernando Ramirez has been named Arizona Workers' Compensation Chapter Association Arizona Rehabilitant of the Year.
Ramirez, a construction foreman who lives in Phoenix, is expected to return to work soon. He was injured on a construction site in Colorado Springs, Colorado, after a fall from an unsecured third-story balcony in April 2017. He received an acquired brain injury, multiple skull and facial fractures, cranial nerve injuries affecting his vision, pulmonary contusions, and a left wrist fracture. He also has had secondary physical conditions requiring medical treatment.
Ellie Monski, RN, CCM, Paradigm Network Manager, managed Ramirez' case and nominated him for the Arizona award. She says he is a hard worker dedicated to his family and to his work.
“He never doubted that he would return to work. Transition was difficult once he became aware of the accident and what would be required of him to recover and return to his normal activities,” she says.
Ramirez' treatment initially was complex and required medical management from multiple physicians and disciplines. His providers include a neurologist, rehab physiatrist, spinal and pain management physiatrist, orthopedist, dentist, plastic surgeon, otorhinolaryngologist, ocular plastic surgeon, neuro-optometrist, ophthalmologists, internist, cardiologist, neuropsychologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, and recreational/vocational therapist.
He also participated in a day care program at Rehab Without Walls upon discharge from Barrows Acute Inpatient Neurorehab.
Ramirez exhibited many of the typical challenges of post traumatic brain injury and at first, it was difficult for him to be in the role of injured worker. Over time with the assistance and support of family and medical providers, he became more accepting of his medical situation and redirected his energy. He became very motivated and positive regarding his recovery.
“Many individuals enduring these health challenges would remain angry since the accident was not their fault. Not Ramirez. I have seen a transformation as he has overcome so many medical obstacles,” Ellie says.
His faith in God supported him through difficult times. Ramirez always says he must remain positive and not focus on the negative.
Ellie also has seen his love for his grandchildren and the positive relationship with his family. She says it's evident Ramirez gains strength from these interactions.
“Although he did not always understand and agree with his providers' recommendations, he accepted them, remained positive, and was prepared to do what it would take to recover,” Ellie says.