June 4, 2020: Both Molly Smith and Karl Arabian were pretty new to the profession of physical therapy when they were thrust into a vital but harrowing role that neither of them could have anticipated. Their hospitals became early epicenters for treating patients with COVID-19, and the two physical therapists found themselves on the front lines in the pandemic’s early hot spots — Seattle, in Molly’s case, and New York City in Karl’s.
In this episode of Move Forward Radio, the PTs describe the circumstances of their trials by fire, and their responses as movement experts to both the immediate and ongoing needs of patients in the hospital whose bodies are badly deconditioned by the virus’s effects. They also talk about the continued rehabilitation needs for COVID survivors long after their discharge from the hospital.
Molly and Karl share stories about some of their patients — including one who survived the Nazi Holocaust. The PTs also have takeaway messages and advice for listeners based on their expertise and experiences.
Here’s our conversation with Molly and Karl.
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Karl Arabian PT, DPT, is a full-time staff physical therapist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde, New York. He is an adjunct cardiopulmonary laboratory instructor at Touro College in Bay Shore. His areas of clinical practice include early mobilization in the ICU, airway clearance techniques, and exercise programming for people with ICU-acquired weakness. Karl graduated from the New York Institute of Technology.
Molly Smith, PT, DPT, received a doctor of physical therapy degree from the University of Montana, School of Physical Therapy. She works at Swedish Hospital Cherry Hill in Seattle, Washington, where she floats between the neuro/cardiac ICU, neuro/cardiac telemetry, and inpatient rehabilitation. Molly discovered physical therapy as a career after tearing her ACLs three times as a college athlete, but fell in love with hospital-based physical therapy during school. Her team mentality from sports serves her well as part of a team of medical professionals working together for the health of hospital patients.