Skip to comments.Famed surgeon gives Brooklyn flight attendant new hope after hotel-fall horror
Posted on 11/28/2008 6:57:18 PM PST by Coleus
Jessica Mazzone is recovering from operation by Dr. John Boockvar. Writhing in pain inside a dilapidated hospital in the Dominican Republic, Brooklyn native Jessica Mazzone didn't think she'd ever walk again. The 28-year-old flight attendant had fallen three stories from a hotel balcony on the eastern tip of the island, snapping her spine and shattering her left leg. Local doctors insisted they had to operate on her at the hospital. A journey to the U.S. would almost certainly leave her paralyzed, Mazzone was told. Her family feared the worst until a relative suggested they contact a famed surgeon who had successfully treated a window washer after he fell 47 stories last year. Days later, on Nov. 14, Mazzone was under the knife of Dr. John Boockvar at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell. The next day Boockvar delivered the good news that Mazzone never thought she'd hear again: She would walk again.
"It was a wild ride," Mazzone, of Sheepshead Bay, said Wednesday from her hospital bed. "I'm just so grateful for all of the love, the support and care I got." Mazzone's terrifying ordeal began shortly after she arrived in Punta Cana for a friend's wedding on Nov. 7. After having dinner with pals at their resort, Mazzone returned to her third-floor room and went out on the balcony. "I remember leaning over to go grab my cigarette lighter off the balcony, and the next thing I know, I'm falling over," Mazzone said. Miraculously, she hit the pavement upright. "I would have won the gold medal," she quipped. "I landed right on my feet. A perfect 10."
Still, Mazzone's injuries were catastrophic. Searing pain coursed through her legs and back as she was rushed to a local hospital. The condition of the hospital was mortifying, Mazzone said. Power disappeared for hours at a stretch, there was no pain medication available and she was forced to use cutup IV tubes to take in fluids. A day later, her aunt and one of her Delta supervisors arrived to comfort and help her. They were followed by one of Mazzone's friends, her uncle and eventually her father. A surgeon performed a procedure that relieved pressure from Mazzone's spine, but her situation remained dire. "I was prepared to never walk again," Mazzone said. The family frantically reached out to local hospitals. Their search ended when a relative told them of Boockvar's renown.
After a 5-1/2-hour journey by medevac, Mazzone was operated on at Weill Cornell. Boockvar stabilized her spine using rods, screws and a titanium device known as a "cage." Mazzone is expected to be able to walk again within a year, he said. "The way everybody came together for me is amazing," Mazzone said.
I dunno. The older I get and the worse things seem to be getting inside even our own country, I’m extremely reluctant to travel outside of it unless it’s a trip to Western Europe or Japan.
Continued prayers for miss Mazzone. I know a lot for her have been answered already!
I have spent a great deal of time being treated as a patient (for cancer) at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell. I owe them my life. It is a superb hospital. The burn victims on 9/11 were brought there, at least the worst cases, b/c they have a superb burn unit, too.
The policy I get lasts from the day before to the day after my trip. I is comprehensive enough that the company will send an airplane to get me and fly me to a center for treatment.
Never had to use it,thanks be to the Lord, but it pays to be careful.
While working in very rural Russia, we had a package that covered medivac via air ambulance to Sweden - worth the couple of bucks a paycheck.
A visit to the local ‘clinic’ quickly convinced the holdouts.