Personal Experience With Guillain-Barre Syndrome Inspires Leigh-Anne Piechta’s Career in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
At age 19, Leigh-Anne Piechta, DO, developed Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which a body’s immune system attacks the nerves. For months, Piechta couldn’t put on clothes or take a shower without assistance.
She’ll never forget the person who helped her the most. “It was a female physiatrist (physical medicine doctor) at a rehabilitation facility where I went after a long hospital stay,” Piechta says. “She had a great sense of humor and a positive attitude.”
Gradually, Piechta’s function returned, and her future plans were clear. “I set my sights on becoming a physiatrist,” she says.
This summer, Piechta’s story will come full circle. That’s when she will officially become the medical director for the Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation–Cedar Crest. This 34-bed facility will be located on the sixth and seventh floors of Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest’s Kasych Family Pavilion in Salisbury Township.
All patient rooms will be private. People recovering from stroke, neurological disorders, orthopedic injuries, amputations and other conditions will receive at least three hours of rehabilitation therapy almost every day for an average of two weeks.
“My mission will be to provide patient-focused care that allows people to heal with respect and dignity,” Piechta says.
Piechta graduated from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury, N.Y., and did her residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. She previously served as the medical director of regional acute rehab at Phoenixville Hospital.
Tina Roma Fisher, RN, director of clinical services
A Lehigh Valley native with 25 years of experience as a certified rehabilitation nurse at Moss Rehab at Sacred Heart-Einstein Healthcare Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network, Roma Fisher is active both nationally and locally in the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing at York College and her master’s degree in nursing at Allentown College of St. Francis of DeSales.
“My passion is rehabilitation and caring,” Roma Fisher says. “The Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation–Cedar Crest will have an exceptional staff that will provide compassionate, quality care to those need acute rehabilitation. This state-of-the-art facility will provide healing environment for rehabilitation patients.”
Haring has worked in physical therapy in the Lehigh Valley region for more than 20 years, including associations with Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital and HRC ManorCare, both in Allentown, and Orthopedic Associates of Bethlehem. He received his bachelor’s degree in health sciences at Lock Haven University, earned his master’s degree in physical therapy at the University of Delaware, and earned his doctoral degree in physical therapy at the University of Scranton.
“We will build a strong, collaborative, interdisciplinary team which embodies a patient-first culture,” he says. “The physical workplace at the Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation–Cedar Crest has been masterfully designed, and it is rich in technology and utility. Combining this with a top-notch staff, we’ll be able to provide the best in patient care.”