Brooke Dunning

On a crisp winter day, 26-year-old Brooke Dunning was enjoying her passion for snowboarding when things took an unexpected turn. What started as an exhilarating run down the slopes ended in a life-altering accident. Brooke was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors diagnosed her with a severe cervical spine injury.

Brooke, a vibrant certified public accountant who loved motorsports and outdoor activities, suddenly found herself facing a challenging journey ahead. After emergency surgery to stabilize her spine, she was left with quadriparesis – weakness in all four limbs. Complications arose, including pneumoperitoneum, aphasia, and respiratory issues, leading to her being placed on ventilator support.

As Brooke’s condition stabilized, she transferred to Vibra Hospital of Southeastern Michigan – Taylor Campus, a critical care hospital. Her family chose Vibra after touring the facility and being impressed by the staff’s dedication.

Upon admission to Vibra, Brooke was completely dependent for all mobility and daily activities. She required a feeding tube for nutrition and couldn’t speak due to the ventilator. However, Brooke’s charismatic personality and love for life became evident to everyone around her. Her family’s unwavering support and her personal goal to walk again and return to work became her driving forces.

Brooke’s recovery journey was intense. She worked tirelessly with a multidisciplinary team, including physical, occupational, and speech therapists, as well as respiratory specialists and wound care experts. Despite her anxiety about the tubes and lines connected to her body, Brooke’s determined spirit shone through, inspiring the staff with her grateful attitude and perseverance.

As days turned into weeks, Brooke made remarkable progress. She gradually regained strength and endurance. One of her most celebrated milestones was being able to eat her favorite food – sushi – and to speak again. Her safety awareness improved, and she began to master new compensatory strategies for her daily activities.

Brooke’s journey at Vibra Hospital was transformative. From being dependent on a ventilator and unable to move, she progressed to a point where she could be considered for intensive inpatient rehabilitation.

Brooke’s story is a testament to the power of determination and expert care. As she prepared to leave Vibra for the next phase of her recovery, she reflected on her experience. “The entire Vibra family impacted my recovery,” Brooke shared, adding that she is “excited to return home and do as much as possible for myself.”

As Brooke embarked on the next stage of her journey, she carried with her improved physical abilities, a renewed appreciation for life, and a determination to make the most of every opportunity for recovery.