The Chapmans enjoy living on Wadmalaw Island where they hunt, fish, and do just about anything outdoors. Steve Chapman calls it a paradise. After retirement, he planned on taking it easy on their little island back in the woods. However, after a hunting accident, everything changed.
After being released from the hospital, Steve was homebound for months. His wife Natalie was there to help him, but said that he couldn’t even lift the handle on his recliner. Because of the extent of his injuries, Steve’s doctor told him that a full recovery was not certain. Steve’s crippled drive to regain his health caused him to fall into depression.
“I thought my life was over as I knew it,” Steve said. “That put me in a dark place for a while.”
Around this time, Jennifer Winkelmann of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) reached out to the Chapmans. She is the program manager for the Trauma Resilience and Recovery Program. Through this program, the team at MUSC can assess a patient’s mental health following a traumatic injury. Then they can connect the patients with mental health therapists. One of the aspects of this program that makes it more accessible to patients like Steve is telehealth.
Winkelmann said that it has helped her patients with physical injuries and mobility issues: “By being able to call them, and reach out to them through telehealth, it allows us to reach them easier.” Steve Chapman says he probably wouldn’t have participated, if he had been forced to drive all the way to MUSC for the appointments. He credits the program to fixing his “attitude” and mental state that was so critical to the rest of his recovery.