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Patient Stories: Jim Schoeld

Jim Schoeld

Although he retired in June of 2001, Jim Schoeld is far from idle. A minister since 1962, he now preaches on a part-time basis for local Lutheran churches, and is a member of both the Shoreline South County YMCA Board and the Hearthstone Retirement Center Board. In addition, he serves as a volunteer with the Clinical Pastoral Education committee for University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center.

Jim is also a graduate of the UWMC Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit, after a July 2001 auto accident resulted in a C5/6 spinal cord injury.

After being hospitalized in Wenatchee, WA, where he received medical treatment for eight days, Jim requested to be transferred to the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit as a result of his son-in-law having attended UW School of Medicine.

A car fitted with assistive technology for driving.
During his 10-week stay on the rehab unit, Jim’s therapists helped him understand that he could become mobile and independent, and once again lead a full life. Jim feels that one of the most important parts of his rehabilitation was being able to work with our Disabled Drivers program, which helped him relearn how to drive, and once again be productive and self-sufficient. Now, Jim highly recommends UWMC to anyone needing rehabilitation services.

While Jim’s team of rehabilitation professionals helped him achieve his personal goals, his personal support network of family and friends were also committed to his rehabilitation success. They continued to remind him of their love and support and his wife, who he describes as "passionately faithful," was always at his side. Additionally, his former Rotary club funded the redesigning of his bathroom and built a ramp to allow him access to the second floor of his three-story home.

Although Jim has finished his rehabilitation with UWMC, he is still an active member of our Rehab Patient Advisory Council, a group of individuals who have received rehabilitation services at UWMC and who work with hospital staff to create a culture of patient centered care. Writing our patient manual, Rehab and Beyond, creating a brochure for patients who might be referred to the inpatient unit, and developing a patient mentoring program are just a few of the Rehab Patient Advisory Council’s many accomplishments.

Ironically, Jim has already begun informally mentoring one of his former professors, who sustained a spinal cord injury after falling down stairs. Although the professor is in another state, Jim regularly talks to him and encourages him in his rehabilitation. His friend appreciates Jim’s straightforward and honest advice on what he can expect in treatment, but perhaps the most helpful thing is the lesson that Jim’s own friends reminded him of during his hospitalization: "You are still you, and we still love you."

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