Health care with a human touch

Born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, Sasha is nonverbal and non-ambulatory, requiring a wheelchair. She takes her meals by feeding tube.

Her parents, Pete and Michele, make sure she has good quality of life. They take her out of the house frequently for a change of surroundings. Sasha, now 30, has been invited to and attended weddings and joined her younger sister in the dance circle.

"We surround her with people who treat her as a person, not a list of disabilities," Pete said. "That’s very important to us."

That’s why Pete and Michele say they chose UNT Health Science Center to provide medical care for Sasha, having survived a serious bout with pneumonia in 2003. Natasha Cha, Physician Assistant in the Pulmonology Division, and other UNTHSC medical staff treat Sasha as family.

"We’ve seen a number of doctors during Sasha’s 30 years, and the medical care and personal attention we get at UNTHSC is second to none," Pete said.

Cha keeps Sasha healthy by regularly monitoring her condition and prescribing appropriate medication and breathing treatments performed with a nebulizer, a device that turns medications into mist for easier delivery. When the insurance provider disputes coverage of necessary medication, Cha immediately intercedes and fights to prove the need for and result of proper prescribed treatment.

"We never feel like we are on our own," Pete said. "And that is really key when you’re dealing with insurance issues."

PA Cha and other medical staff also do little things, such as commenting on her outfit or hair, Pete said. While Sasha may not always exhibit an outward response, Pete and Michele can tell she is happy and comfortable at UNTHSC.

They can’t imagine moving Sasha to another medical provider.

"We’re with the Health Science Center for life," Pete said.

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