Denise Michaels

Adult respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS for short, is a life-threatening diagnosis. Unfortunately, many people diagnosed with ARDS don’t survive. So when Denise Michaels admitted to Lutheran Hospital with a diagnosis of ARDS, she was in for the fight of her life.

At Lutheran, Denise was placed on a long-course ventilator and underwent a tracheostomy, a surgical procedure where an alternative airway is created in your windpipe to allow breathing. She spent two months there before stabilizing enough for a transfer to Vibra Hospital of Denver, a critical care hospital.

Critical care hospitals, like Vibra, are a type of specialty hospital designed to provide care for individuals suffering from critical and chronic medical issues. Vibra Hospital of Denver, in particular, has received The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Respiratory Failure Certification, making it the ideal place for Denise to continue her recovery.

Though Denise experienced various complications over the next several weeks, she began to make significant progress. Eventually, Denise had liberated from the ventilator and had her tracheostomy tube removed in a procedure known as decannulation.

At this point, Denise could speak, eat, and walk again and was ready for the next phase of her recovery. She transferred to Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital of Denver, an inpatient rehabilitation facility that shares a building with the critical care hospital.

At Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital, Denise worked toward her goal of returning to her prior level of function. These goals included navigating stairs, preparing a meal on the stove, washing and folding her laundry, and caring for her dog, Truffle. By her day of discharge, Denise’s oxygen was well maintained via a nasal cannula, and she demonstrated the ability to meet all her goals with the assistance of a walker.