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Small Steps

Beth SteinbergAfter open heart surgery left Beth Steinberg, 52, weak and unable to walk without with help, she worried about her future. She lived in a remote part of North Dakota with limited access to healthcare.

“After my heart attack and surgery, I spent nearly three months in a hospital bed,” Beth said. “When I was finally released, I was so weak. I had to use a walker, and I could only walk 20 feet before needing to rest. I knew I needed to get better, but I wasn’t sure how that was going to happen.” Her family suggested she move to Kansas City temporarily so her dad could help her recover.

The First Step

After she settled in Kansas City, she met with Cardiologist Steven K. Starr, MD. “Beth’s prolonged hospitalization left her muscles in a severely deconditioned state,” Dr. Starr said. “I recommended the hospital’s physical therapy program as a way to improve her strength and endurance before she started her cardiac rehab program.”

It was during a therapy session that Beth met Kelly Sander, an NKCH physical therapy assistant. “Kelly was my saving grace,” Beth said. “I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if it hadn’t been for her. Therapy was hard, and Kelly really cared about my success. She didn’t let me give up, and she motivated me to walk again.”

The Next Step

Beth Steinberg

Beth and Kelly

Beth supplemented her physical therapy with swimming sessions at the Parkville YMCA, one of the hospital’s community partners. Soon, she was ready for cardiac rehab. Almost six months after Beth arrived in Kansas City, she was healthy enough to return home to North Dakota.

“Beth was highly motivated, and she had a very supportive family,” Dr. Starr said. “When she left to go home, I was confident she would live a productive life despite suffering a near fatal heart attack at a young age. She’s a good example of how multiple areas of our cardiac team coordinate care and put patients on the road to complete recovery.”

Within one week of returning home, Beth joined a cardiac rehab maintenance program near her home and was back to working out. “After some crazy months, I’m glad to have the chance to live a normal life again. I thank North Kansas City Hospital for that chance.”

Small Steps