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‘9000 Needles’ Around Globe
Family Utilizes Skype While Survivor Seeks Care in China
By Lisa Pogue
Patients are turning
to Skype™—an application for Internet video calling—to stay in touch
and maintain a mobile support system throughout the various stages of stroke
Dearth directed the powerful 2011 documentary
“9000 Needles” about his brother, Devin Dearth’s stroke rehabilitation
in Tianjin, China, and the distances families will go to help heal loved ones.
A brain stem bleed
left 40-year-old Devin Dearth paralyzed on his right side. The champion
bodybuilder, successful businessman and father of three turned to a Chinese
hospital that integrated Western and Eastern medicine to treat stroke patients.
Here, Doug Dearth
shares what it was like to use Skype to reach out to family members while his
youngest brother powered through rehab.
Q: How did
Skype help you tell your brother’s story?
A: Skype became a wonderful tool for
us early on. Our family was all able to communicate face-to-face (virtually)
from Kentucky to Los Angeles to Ohio.
We also used Skype
with the doctors in Tianjin in order to discuss Devin’s case—a pivotal step in
easing our concerns and fears surrounding Devin traveling all the way to China
in his condition.
Q: Did Skype
play a role in helping family and friends understand Devin’s recovery?
A: Absolutely! Using Skype gave Devin
a chance to speak with his family every day. He stayed involved in his three
children’s lives and our family watched his progress in real-time.
Q: Did using
Skype to communicate inspire hope or motivation in your brother?
A: It definitely inspired motivation,
because Devin really didn’t want to let his family down. For example, if they
happened to be watching via Skype while he was exercising or trying to walk, he
would certainly try extra hard to show them that he was improving.
Several times, a
Skype call with Devin was projected live on a large screen at his local church
in Kentucky. The church community was an integral part of raising money for
Devin’s journey and provided much-needed support to Devin’s family while he was
Q: How did it help
Devin stay connected as a father and husband?
A: Devin has three children: a son,
Zachary (who was 19 at the time), and two daughters, Kaley and Sarah (15 and 9,
respectively). Each of them handled their own experience with their dad
differently. At a time when normally they would be away from their injured
father, they were able to see him daily, meet the folks who were taking care of
him and continue to share their lives with him.
Lisa Pogue is a
freelance writer based in Breckenridge, Colo. She learned a lot about the power
of family, community and determination while researching Devin Dearth’s