Bobby's Story

At a recent visit to his neurosurgeon, Bobby proudly describes how his doctor had to do a double-take to confirm he had the right patient when he saw Bobby talking, walking, and smiling.

For Bobby Relovsky, the day of his traumatic brain injury is still a complete blur. Back in 2017, at age 20, Bobby was working as a landscaper in South Jersey. He remembers being out on a job and on top of a flatbed truck with a bunch of mulch. And that’s it.

“Apparently I slipped off the lift and landed on the back of my head onto asphalt,” Bobby says. “I don’t remember anything at all.”

Bobby was rushed to the hospital with a traumatic brain injury. He had a ruptured temporal artery, and surgeons performed a craniotomy. He was there for a month before arriving at Magee.

“The first memory I have after my injury, I was in my bed at Magee waking up,” Bobby recalls. “I looked out the window and saw Liberty One and thought ‘Why am I in Philadelphia?’ and then ‘Where is the hair on my head?’”

The former weightlifter who once weighed 210 lbs. had dropped down to 165 lbs. on his 6’2” frame. He remembers relearning how to swallow and trying to stand for longer than 30 seconds.

“Patience is so important,” Bobby says.

Bobby’s mom, Terry, recalls meeting Ruth Burnett, Magee’s Workers’ Compensation Nurse Navigator, during their inpatient stay.

“Ruth would check in to make sure things were going well and that all of Bobby’s needs were met,” Terry says.

“I’m a nurse, too, and it can be hard to step back and let the professionals do their job. To have a young child that’s healthy and independent then have to learn how to walk is very difficult. But everyone at Magee was wonderful.”

Bobby worked diligently in the inpatient program for six weeks before his discharge to outpatient therapy at Magee Riverfront. He was thrilled to return to some of the things he loved before his injury, like visiting La Colombe for coffee or jamming on his guitar. Bobby’s main goal, though, was going back to school.

At the time of his injury, Bobby had just finished his second year of college at Rowan University. While his injury sidetracked his studies for a bit, Bobby was eager to get back into the classroom. He took a history course over the 2017 winter break, then did three courses in the spring 2018 semester. By that summer, Bobby was juggling four courses and an internship at a Trenton consulting firm. He tackled a full course load for the fall 2018 term.

At a recent visit to his neurosurgeon, Bobby proudly describes how his doctor had to do a double-take to confirm he had the right patient when he saw Bobby talking, walking, and smiling.

“I didn’t realize it was that bad,” Bobby says. “He used the word ‘miracle.’”

Ruth also beams with pride when she talks about Bobby’s recovery. At the same time, she frankly acknowledges the societal stigma that can be placed on Workers’ Compensation patients.

“At Magee, with the acuity of the patients we care for, there is no exaggeration of the extent of their injuries. They are serious and life-altering,” Ruth says.

“The people at Magee are what make it special, from our stellar physicians through our housekeepers and building maintenance staff, their outlook on caring for patients is what helps make Magee like no other place for people with catastrophic injuries to recover.”