On March 24,2002 at 5 p.m. while Cara Ferber was returning to Cornell Law School, After spring break she was involved in a head-on collision .We are resigned to the fact, we will never know the cause. Her mom had just spoken to her, so we feel she didnít fall asleep, even though she was five minutes from her apartment, after a 4 1/2 hour journey. A passerby, a nurse named Dawn Jewel came to her aid, holding her neck straight to keep open the breathing passage before the ambulance arrived. She also was talking to her to keep her awake, and by doing these things she probably saved her life.
The ambulance took her to Cayuga Medical Center, but they could not stabilize her and it was decided to transfer her to the nearest trauma center. She had to travel for 50 minutes by ambulance ,as weather conditions prevented helicopter transport. Cara was brought to Robert Packer Hospital at Guthrie Medical Center. In the ICU unit she was given 30 units of blood in the first 18 hours. The only hope they could give us was that A girl named Cara had survived the year before.
Caraís injuries included a fractured skull, frontal lobe brain trauma, collapsed lung, Ruptured spleen ,which was removed, .torn liver, bruised kidneys, both legs and ankles with multiple fractures, and missing bone, and both arms and wrists with multiple Fractures and her hand also crushed. One knee was so badly damaged that amputation was considered. Cara remained in a coma for twelve days and then began to wake up. She was in a special large room in the ICU to handle all the machines that were keeping her alive. The doctors, nurses ,technicians and all support staff did a miraculous job.
On April 15th Cara was flown by helicopter to Kessler Institute, East Orange, N.J., To begin her rehabilitation both physical and neurological, under the guidance of Dr. Jonathan Fellus. There were many complications and during her stay she had to have her knee operated on, at the Hospital for Special Surgery, by Dr. David Helfet, her hand and wrist were also operated on but by Dr. Weiland. After a week at HSS she returned to Kessler where she remained until July 5,2002 when she was finally released as an inpatient.
She then began her outpatient rehabilitation everyday, at Kessler North for O.T., P.T. For her legs, hands, and eye coordination. She continued at Kessler East for cognitive, neurological, and psychological rehabilitation under Drs. Fellus and George Carnevale, For more than a year. Cara was named as Patient of the Year for Kessler East and spoke eloquently at their Banquet.
In September of 2003 Cara continued her rehabilitation at the Rusk Intstitute Brain Injury Day Program. She has made remarkable progress under the care of Dr. Yehuda Ben-Yishay and Dr. Ellen Daniels-Zide and their staff. Cara graduated from the program after 3 cycles and 2 work cycles in association with the program. She is presently employed by the NYU Medical Library at Bellevue and participates in the Community Skills program of NJ.