Rehabilitation

The opening bars of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” echo through a bustling therapy gym as 13-year-old Courtney Turner practices her physical therapy for the day: lip syncing.

A rare infection attacked Turner’s nervous system last year, leaving her almost completely paralyzed. Her doctors called it “a lightning strike”: Once a bubbly preteen who ran track and cracked jokes with her twin brother, she’s spent the past seven months undergoing intense rehabilitation therapy at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital. During that time, Turner has slowly started to regain some of her muscle movement and reflexes like swallowing food.  

Michael Velardo | Flickr

Experts who study drug trends say the presumed fatal heroin overdose of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman shines the spotlight anew on the need for society to come to grips with widespread heroin abuse across the nation and in St. Louis.

Among those who have studied the issue is Theodore “Ted” Cicero, a  professor in neuropharmacology in psychiatry at Washington University Medical School. He has tracked patient trends in 150 drug treatment facilities nationwide for more than seven years.

Patty Maher inside building on Wyoming.
Thomas Crone | for the Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For the better part of the past decade, a historic structure on the corner of Wyoming Street and Arkansas Avenue was abandoned, left to the elements as boards came and went from windows. The first floor was sealed but the second floor was open, subjecting the building to rain, snow and cold.

For developer Patty Maher, that situation has been a blessing, not a curse.