News Room

Ventilator Care Program at Alaris Health at Saint Mary’s Helps Patient to Breathe Again on his own and Return Home

When Castrodell Johnson left the hospital after suffering acute respiratory failure, he went to a Long Term Acute Care facility, and later came to Alaris Health at St. Mary’s.  At that time he was breathing through the use of a respirator and also had a tracheostomy, a surgical procedure to create an opening through the neck into the windpipe. He worried that he would never again breathe on his own.


“I thought it might never happen, and if it did, I assumed it would take a lot longer to be able to breathe. But over two months of using different machines and doing exercises, I could feel myself being able to breathe on my own again. All the people here are great.  They are good people who helped me and I am so glad I came here, “says Mr. Johnson, who was recently discharged.


A music lover, he looked forward to going home and listening to jazz and having his life back.


His physician, Gnana Sunderam, MD, Medical Director at Alaris Health at Saint Mary’s, is equally pleased by his patient’s strong recovery.  Weaning Mr. Johnson off the respirator required extensive therapy.  First, respiratory therapy was instrumental in encouraging him to breathe on his own.  Next, physical therapy assisted in strengthening the entire body, which had become deconditioned.  The full body workouts improved overall function.


“It is a total miracle.  We are all so pleased to see his progress. We were able to remove his tracheostomy and he is now weaned from any oxygen therapy support.  Mr. Johnson’s outlook is very good and he can speak and breathe normally.  It is a huge medical accomplishment for him to have improved to this point,” says Dr. Sunderam.


Patients in need of a ventilator, whether permanent or temporary, require highly specialized care. There are three Alaris Member Health Centers that provide a comprehensive Ventilator Care Program: Alaris Health at the Chateau (Rochelle Park), Alaris Health at St. Mary’s (Orange), and Alaris Health at Cherry Hill. The Alaris Ventilator Care Program units are staffed 24 hours a day by specially trained licensed respiratory therapists and nurses, with oversight by board-certified pulmonologists. The program features ventilator weaning and management, tracheotomy care, bronchial hygiene and oxygen therapy.


“Mr. Johnson’s recovery is a shining example of the dedication of all the medical disciplines at Alaris Health at St. Mary’s working together  The physician, nursing care, the rehabilitative specialists, social services, the respiratory staff and the activities department, all playing a valued part,” says Roy Santos, Administrator.


For more information, please call (973) 266-3001.