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Thursday, January 24 , 2019, 3:16 am | Fair 42º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Back on His Feet, Pedro Reyes Has More Great Steps Ahead

Pedro Reyes credits the Ridley-Tree Center for Wound Management at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital for his relatively quick recovery from serious burn injuries to his feet. Click to view larger
Pedro Reyes credits the Ridley-Tree Center for Wound Management at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital for his relatively quick recovery from serious burn injuries to his feet. (Cottage Health photo)

The first time Pedro Reyes was honored at the White House was in 1989 for his outstanding community service as a high school student. In 2012, he returned to the White House as a nominee for the César Chávez Spirit Award for community activism.

Reyes has a drive to help others. When he is not working on civil rights issues and serving his community of Santa Maria, he is employed as a college adviser and teaches English as a Second Language.

But in January, his health took a dangerous turn. He suffered severe burns — second and third degree — on both his feet. This was a uniquely complex injury for Reyes, as he has Type 1 Diabetes, which often makes wounds much more challenging to heal properly.

His primary care doctor referred him to the Ridley-Tree Center for Wound Management — one of only three centers in California to earn the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval — located at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.

“I can’t describe how frightened I was,” Reyes said. “I could have lost both feet, or even died.”

He had no idea what to expect, but the staff at the Ridley-Tree Center quickly earned his confidence. The first person he met was a volunteer who greeted him and provided a wheelchair. It was a good first impression.

Then the medical staff — physician and nurses — created a treatment plan specific to his needs. He knew he was where he needed to be.

“I immediately had peace of mind,” Reyes said. “They were so kind and professional. They knew exactly what to do.”

For the next five months, Reyes and his wife traveled the 140-mile round trip to Goleta from Santa Maria for his weekly appointment.

“The staff also empowered my wife,” he said. “They were very generous in their teaching, and they taught her how to care for me at home.”

At first, Reyes had to stay in bed 24/7, which was difficult for someone used to being so active. But he made the most of it. While healing in bed, he was able to create a new nonprofit organization for Santa Maria that will benefit local young people with guidance for education and help in making good life choices.

After five months, Reyes is back on his feet and active. And when he’s active, that’s a great thing for a whole lot of people.

“I can’t thank Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital enough,” he said. “On a scale of one to 10, I’d give them a 12 or 15. I’d give them a 50 if I could!”

To make an appointment or for more information, call 805.696.7920.

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