Man paralyzed in Haiti quake rehabs in Chicago

June 23, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Twenty-eight-year-old Bazelais Suy was paralyzed from the waist down. After months of rehabilitation under the care of the doctor who brought him here for treatment Suy is walking again.

Determination and perseverance best describe Suy. After months of rehab at Northwestern, The Rehabilitation Institute and the Glencrest Nursing facility, he began walking again with the use of a walker. Wednesday was the first time Suy was able to walk with canes.

"When you see the guy, it just brightens your day, the ear-to-ear grin, the enthusiasm he has. He just has success written all over him, and as a patient, anything that he has been asked to do, he has met and continues to exceed expectations," said Dr. Dan Ivankovich, orthopaedic surgeon.

For the past seven days Suy had several hours of physical therapy each day.

Dr. Ivankovich brought Suy from Haiti to Chicago in January on a Medevac flight.

"There was no expectation for him to walk. He was completely paralyzed and broken in two. The fact that he was able to recover is miraculous, and it shows the resilience of the human body, especially a young man hike him," said Dr. Ivankovich.

Suy talks through his translator and physical therapist Rosite Merentie.

"Each time...he makes a little step he thinks of the doctor," Suy said.

Suy breaks down as he remembers being buried for 12 hours under rubble with a dead woman on top of him, and recalling when he learned that many of his friends died in the earthquake.

Suy's goal is to return to Haiti in time for his birthday on July 6. His mentor/doctor will be going with him.

"He has one thought in mind, and that is to go home and help his country rebuild," said Dr. Ivankovich.

"I want to thank you everybody in America who helped me, especially Dr. Ivankovich," Suy said in English.

The doctor's goal is to get Suy back to Haiti in an accessible apartment with proximity to a rehab facility. That is all being arranged. They leave on July 5, just in time for his 29th birthday.

Suy is looking forward to seeing his girlfriend, also a university student who survived the earthquake.

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