Katelynn Dorety ate well and worked out regularly, but good health can’t prevent brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM).
Katelynn, 31, of Northeast Philadelphia, wasn’t feeling well on Sept. 14 as she was working out at Fusion Gym on Grant Avenue. A friend decided to take her to an urgent care center, but she collapsed before entering the facility.
A rescue squad took her to Jefferson Torresdale Hospital, where she was quickly diagnosed with a brain bleed. An aneurysm near the stem of the brain led to the hemorrhage.
Katelynn spent about a month at Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience, 9th and Walnut streets, including three weeks in the intensive care unit.
Next, she went to Deer Meadows for skilled nursing, then to MossRehab before being released on April 15 to her dad’s house in Croydon.
A St. Mary Medical Center nurse and physical, occupational and speech therapists work with Katelynn. The plan is for her to become an outpatient at MossRehab, once the coronavirus pandemic eases.
Katelynn has a long way to go, but her loved ones are optimistic about her long-term recovery.
“The doctors at Moss say there is a very good possibility she’ll get back on her feet,” said John Dorety, her dad.
Katelynn’s family and friends can’t crowd into her dad’s house to offer her their love and best wishes, but they can show their support in other ways.
On Saturday, April 25, more than 50 cars drove by John’s house on Harris Avenue. Katelynn was outside, watching family and friends honk their horns, wave, hold signs and shout words of support. Some dropped off cards and gifts.
April 25 was sunny, and the day became brighter for Katelynn and her family and friends. There was a time when medical professionals thought she would not make it.
“She’s a special girl. She’s a miracle, without a doubt,” said Janice Dorety, her aunt.
Kaitlynn, a 2007 graduate of Archbishop Ryan High School, has worked in Municipal Court for 13 years.
John thanked Municipal Court President Judge Pat Dugan for helping to organize the drive-by. He also thanked Joe and Pat McDermott and their daughter, Moira, a very good friend of Katelynn, for setting up the caravan. The McDermotts have also helped complete some of Katelynn’s medical paperwork, her dad said.
John and his wife, Kris, own a business that she has stepped back from to care for Katelynn. A wheelchair-accessible ramp has been installed outside the house.
Sue Dorety, Katelynn’s mom, describes her daughter as someone who loves life and always has fun. It’s been a long 7½ months for Katelynn, but her mom said she is doing as well as can be expected.
“She’s been a fighter, from the beginning to now,” she said. “And she hasn’t lost her spunk.”
Katelynn is the younger of John’s two daughters, and she is known as daddy’s little girl. Her dad said she has more good days than bad days.
“She’s the toughest kid I know,” he said. “I don’t know anybody else who could get through this.”
Katelynn’s loved ones have adopted the motto, “Kate’s Fight is Our Fight.” In addition to the drive-by, they organized two fundraisers: a Zumbathon in November at the Northeast Racquet Club & Fitness Center and a benefit in January at the Emerald Room in the Far Northeast that attracted 450 people.
Katelynn’s family and friends hope she recovers to the point where she can soon enjoy some of her favorite activities, such as going to the shore, jet skiing and attending drag racing competitions.
Katelynn also has a loyal Municipal Court family. The drive-by was attended by Judges Dugan, Joffie Pittman, Marissa Brumbach, Christine Hope and Brad Moss, along with dozens of court employees and supervisors.
“Katelynn is a courageous fighter who has beaten tremendous odds to be where she is today. Municipal Court is looking forward to the day she returns to work. We love and miss her but we are so proud of her courage,” Dugan said.