Sharing Gratitude Across the System

Each day, we receive expressions of gratitude at MedStar National Rehabilitation Network as well as hospitals and outpatient sites across the system. To cultivate more gratitude stories, we want to continue to share the heartfelt and inspirational testimonies we’ve received from our friends, families, caregivers, community and patients. We hope you enjoy the following stories and videos and watch as our culture of gratitude continues to grow.

Proud Veteran Conquers Appalachian Trail

Henry Rorie learned “Mind over Matter” during his time in the Marine Corps and placed this mantra directly in the center of his incredible 2,191.1 mile journey to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., a proud Vietnam War veteran and police sergeant, Henry found a love for hiking after completing his active duty service to our country and community. In 2016 his voyage to conquer the Appalachian Trail began, but was met with some prohibitive health barriers that would slow his 15 mile per day pace. When a health concern took him off trail, it was met with determination and a focus from both Henry and his care team to, as he states, “Get me back on the trail”.

Nearing the end of his epic journey, Henry was faced with a complicated surgery that would require another break from what he loved. With mind over matter, this didn’t slow his drive, “The number one goal for me was to get back on the trail. All of my doctors at MedStar Health made this their number one priority as well… I can’t say enough about how grateful I am for their care. They were just excellent!”

Under the care and expertise of his MedStar physician, Ravi Agarwal, DDS, and clinical team, after surgery and a brief hospital stay, he was able to reach the final precipice of the Appalachian Trail. He even touched the iconic end-trail marker as he summited Mount Katahdin! He stood at the end of a momentous personal journey, with his health and grateful spirit, an example of the fighting human spirit.   

Tennis Injury turned nearly Tragic

Emergency care team at MedStar Washington Hospital Center

When Sarah’s health took an unexpected turn for the worse, her emergency care team sprung into action and brought her back to life. Twice.

Sarah Pheasant is a Washington, D.C. attorney who enjoys playing tennis to help de-stress, that is, until a sudden sports injury left her limping off the court. The pain continued and even after an urgent care visit, use of an orthopaedic boot, and physical therapy, Sarah was still facing difficulties.

Early one morning, Sarah experienced rapid labored breathing and tightness in her chest. The last thing she remembers from that morning is immediately dialing 911 only then, to awake four days later in a MedStar intensive care unit.

What she doesn’t remember is arriving by ambulance, unable to speak due to respiratory distress. Her emergency department team had to revive her twice when her heart stopped beating. The rapid onset of such dangerous symptoms lead physicians to diagnose Sarah with a pulmonary embolism. With quick action, her care team safely removed the blood clot that had formed behind her knee - saving Sarah’s life.

It was thanks to the fast action and medical expertise that Ethan Booker, MD; Travis Thompson, MD, emergency medicine resident, Matthew Schreiber, MD and Emil Cohen, MD were able to quickly collaborate on bringing Sarah back to health.

“My family and I are so grateful to the hospital and the entire team,” Sarah reflects. Her father also states, “My wife and I know that Sarah is alive because she had the right doctors with the right skill set, doing their job well. Every member of the team was so kind to us. They went out of their way to make us comfortable, and the care Sarah received was quite remarkable. The practices and the culture of caring were so impressive. We cannot say enough about how incredibly grateful we are for the care she received.”

Strong Women: A Mother and a Daughter’s Resilience

LaWan Sypert-Mujiheed, her husband Dawud and their new baby LailaWhen LaWan Sypert-Mujiheed and her husband Dawud arrived at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s Labor & Delivery department, they were ready to welcome their daughter, Laila, to the world. On the day of delivery, however, mother and newborn daughter endured life-threatening medical emergencies. When in active labor, LaWan suddenly collapsed and passed out completely and baby Laila’s heartbeat slowed.

Michael Hotchkiss, MD, Meghan Malentacchi, MD, Brook Gebeyehu, MD, Nahid Mazarei, MD, Sara Parker, MD, Dominique Stuckey, Director of the Women and Newborn’s Center, along with many caring nurses and other MedStar Southern Maryland associates, rushed through the night to convene at the hospital and determine a diagnosis and treatment plan. It was discovered the mother suffered from an amniotic embolism and the baby had developed a lung condition called a bilateral pneumothorax.

After intense intervention and numerous hours spent in care at MedStar Southern Maryland, Children’s National Medical Center and MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, both Laila and LaWan’s health risks subsided. LaWan now has nearly full physical function, thanks to continuing treatment with her MedStar therapist. Little Laila is now a thriving young toddler.

Dawud, after being faced with losing both his wife and daughter, recalls of this life changing event, “You are never prepared to hear your wife is dying and your baby is too. I knew Laila would pull through, just like her mother. They are strong women. I am incredibly grateful to the physicians and care team who saved both my wife and daughter.”

We invite you to participate in our culture of gratitude. What’s your story?

We're going to get through this together

Emergency Room Teddy Bear

Sara Reges



We invite you to participate in our culture of gratitude. What’s your story?