Don Courtial, PT, Longest Serving Employee Reflects on the Past 57 Years at Memorial

Don Courtial, PT, Longest Serving Employee Reflects on the Past 57 Years at Memorial

After serving as Memorial’s Rehab Services director for 47 years and retiring nine years ago, Don Courtial continues to work part time.

So what drives Courtial to continue working after nearly six decades?

“The good vibes, working with great physicians, excellent people overall, for whom I have great respect and appreciation, have kept me here and encouraged me to continue the work I love,” he said. “This caring atmosphere is what I love.”

Courtial added that hospital administration is open to and encourages new ideas that allow staff to do their jobs more effectively.
For example, over the past few years, Rehab Services has added new state-of-the-art equipment like the aqua therapy available with the swimming pool at the Memorial Hospital Belleville location and the anti-gravity treadmill available at the Memorial Hospital East location.

After all of his years at Memorial, Courtial said that the best part about his job is being able to relieve patients’ pain and movement dysfunctions; getting patients back to optimum daily living; and working with such caring, skillful, and educated colleagues.

“We are continually teaching each other something new,” he said of his co-workers. All of the staff come with various backgrounds and training,
so each team member brings with them some different expertise and specialization.

The use of physical therapy and occupational therapy has increased in orthopedics, cardiac care, stroke care, diabetes rehab, neurosurgery, neurology, cancer rehabilitation, geriatrics, OB/GYN, and other women’s health issues. Courtial is pleased to see an increase in physician interest in rehabilitation and complementary therapies such as manual therapy, massage, stress management training, meditation, and energy procedures like laser therapy and acupuncture methodology for healing and pain management.

“I am thrilled that so many physicians are discovering the available rehab therapies and are looking to the rehab department to suggest what can be done to assist patient care,” Courtial noted. “The rehabilitation disciplines have always been interested in pain management and the restoration of function.”

At age 82, Courtial continues to be fueled by the miracles he witnesses every day with patients whose health and vitality is restored. That’s what keeps him going.