Beating the Odds - Barbara Carter - St. Augustine Health Ministries
 “Everyone around me gives me strength,” says Carter. “I can’t look back, I have to look forward.”   

(Cleveland) In March of 2014, Barbara Carter, a vibrant, independent, 45-year-old nurse technician and mother of three miraculously survived a domestic violence incident that left her with a traumatic brain injury. Barbara was in critical condition, with little hope of recovery. In fact, it was suggested that Barbara might live out her life in a vegetative state.  On Monday — three years and a half years later — St. Augustine staff cheered Barbara on as she walked out of St. Augustine and into her new life at home with family.

After four months of recovering in the hospital from the domestic violence incident, Barbara was transferred to St. Augustine Health Campus. With her fierce determination and her mother by her side, she thrived in her recovery. Her speech, fine motor and gross motor skills continued to improve and she is able to walk over 125 feet with assistance.

Barbara credits the support and encouragement from her mom, Barbara Heard, and her St. Augustine family. But it is really Barbara’s positive outlook that has gotten her through this.  Even in the midst of setbacks, pain or through her numerous surgeries, she didn’t get discouraged and never complained.  “Everyone around me gives me strength,” says Carter. “I can’t look back, I have to look forward.”   

Ms. Heard credits the staff for pushing Barbara physically and advocating on her behalf when Medicaid would no longer cover her therapy. “They found a way to keep working with her because they knew she could do it. You know they really­ care, and they want her to succeed. As a mom, that gives me peace knowing that my daughter is surrounded by people who are an extension of our family.”

The goal was to get Barbara home with her mother and family.  After years of hard work, determination and an abundance of prayers, that day finally arrived.  On Friday, residents and staff had a going away party for Barbara.  On Monday, as Barbara was leaving the building, she was cheered by a line of staff from all departments who lined the hall.  She has been an inspiration to everyone and gives hope to other residents of the Health Campus who face their own challenges.

St. Augustine Health Campus has been a leader in serving the chronically ill and aging of our community for nearly 50 years. Services include short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing, assisted living and long-term care.  St. Augustine Health Campus is minutes from downtown and adjacent to the Gordon Square Arts District and is a service of St. Augustine Health Ministries and Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland.