Dr  Wesley Chay, Physiatrist at Shepherd Center

Dr Wesley Chay, Physiatrist at Shepherd Center

My name is Wesley Chay, I’m an attending
physician here at Shepherd Center. I’m a Florida Gator, gotta do that, go Gators, Gator nation everywhere. I’m from Florida and I loved growing up there
it was a special place, I spent nine years in Gainesville between undergrad
med school and intern year. It’s a wonderful place to learn and study and
just kind of grow as a person and I ended up doing residency here at
Shepherd Center and Emory through PM&R, physical medicine rehabilitation,
to the fellowship up in New Jersey at Kessler UMDNJ, now known as Rutgers, but
in spinal cord injury medicine with the team up there.
I had a lot of people in the medical profession in my family so there was
definitely an awareness of a lot of different healthcare professions, but I
think that I’ve always had a desire to help people. In 2008 I came here to start
residency, spent time on the spinal cord injury units, the brain injury units,
specialized training, it was just the best time of my education and
training, it was amazing and I got to meet people, I got to meet people with
spinal cord injury who were back to life, back to family, back to work, and that’s
what this is all about, that’s why I do what I do.
!e have Emory PM&R residents coming through, we have orthopedic residents
from AMC coming through, some nurse practitioner training programs are
looking to work here and have some clinical time here as well, with PAs as
well, so I’m kind of overseeing all of the folks in graduate medical education who want to learn from the wealth of information and experience
that Shepherd has to offer. The philosophy or the approach that I have
to practicing medicine here can kind of be simplified to a couple
things Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
Often times people have a lot of questions about, you know, when a
traumatic injury or a neurological condition, and comes in like what’s going
to happen for the future, and there’s a lot of uncertainty and so, you know,
regardless of what we see happen, we want patients and families to be prepared for
any obstacle and challenge that they may continue to face moving forward.
Sometimes we see miraculous changes and sometimes we don’t,
but either way we want people to be prepared for those next steps as they
come and the other thing is that I firmly believe in not giving false hope,
but I also firmly believe in not crushing hope where I believe hope
exists, and so this really is a very very special place and that, you know, the
culture that exists here from top down down-up
people care everyone cares the resources that are available here from the support
of the community to people, organizations, companies, to
individual people who donate and just support what the mission of Shepherd
Center is, to have housing for people who are coming from out of town, for meals and massages and other things. Look, the little things that are
offered here for patients and families, I think they all make a big difference. The
advice I would have for somebody is listen to those around you, work as hard
as you can, and try to be patient. It’s so hard, you know, the recovery that we see as miraculous as it can be often times it’s
slower than we want anything and everything lost is always significant
and anything and everything that’s gained is always significant and so it’s
it’s so challenging to have to go through the loss of function or
the loss of communication or the loss of anything it’s a lot to adjust to, and
so that naturally takes time. The beautiful thing is that the
teams here are set up in such a way to support all of aspects of
things that get affected physically, neurologically, emotionally, spiritually,
you know kind of systemically, that there’s so many different things that
that can happen as a result of you know neurological injury or disease and
to have the the specialists here or the teams here or the groups here to be
able to support patients and families through that whole process, it’s a
special thing. Probably the most striking things that I’ve heard people
tell me that really make me feel like what we do here is
worth it is that I’ve had some guys lose the ability to say move
their legs and stand and walk, but in time they’ve also told me that their
spinal cord injury was the best thing that ever happened to them,
and you might think that’s crazy how would somebody say that, but
the answers and what the words that come out of their mouths that shocked me and
that humble me are things like I’m a better father now because of what’s
happened, I don’t take things for granted right now I’m a
better spouse now, or you know I’m more responsible. That these
life-changing experiences, the impact of them are far deeper than just in a sense
the mechanical the mobility that some of these things they are literally
soul-crushing, changing experiences that patients and families go through and for
somebody to go through all this and say this is the best thing that’s ever
happened to me because of how I’ve changed and grown as a person that’s

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