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Cruisin’ on up

Tom Jackson • Sep 27, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Lifting a Chrysler PT Cruiser high into the air and sliding it through a fifth-story hospital wall is an impressive stunt.

But there’s a serious medical purpose to placing the car in Firelands Regional Medical Center’s new rehabilitation unit, currently under construction on the main campus near the emergency room. It will allow patients with mobility problems to practice getting in and out of their cars, allowing them to maintain their independence, Firelands officials said.

See a gallery of the project HERE

Local auto dealer Bryan Kasper donated the car. It’s minus an engine and transmission, but it has a normal interior.

The contractor for the work, Janotta & Herner, placed the car on the back of a truck. The car sat on a steel frame, with the vehicle securely attached.

A crane lifted the frame and the car up at about 9 a.m. Thursday, hoisting it so the front of the car pointed toward an open space on the fifth floor of the Patient Tower, where workers had removed windows to create an entrance.

The front of the frame was bolted to the fifth floor, and the frame was tilted in the back so the car slid slowly and gently onto the fifth floor.

The PT Cruiser — hospital officials like the name because the car will be used for “physical therapy” — is being used to help people recovering from surgery or a medical condition relearn how to get in and out of a car, said Shelly Jordan, director of physical and occupational therapy for Firelands.

The car will also help family members learn how to help the patient get in and out, Jordan said.

Currently, when the hospital is working with a patient, everyone has to go outside to practice using a car. That’s not always convenient, particularly in the winter, Jordan said.

The rehabilitation unit is currently housed at the hospital’s South Campus. Tentative plans call for it to move its new location Dec. 29.

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