Because of my orthopaedic care, I can perform again.

Patient story from

One moment, Danielle O’Grady was graduating from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in vocal performance. The next, she was lying in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital. A month after her graduation, Danielle and her younger sister Kelly were hit head on by a drunk driver. Kelly was pronounced dead at the scene, while Danielle was rushed to Strong with multiple injuries.

“You never think you can get through something like that,” Danielle says. “It was more than I thought I could handle. But I had so many people cheering me on.”

Danielle’s injuries included a collapsed lung, a fractured and dislocated hip, two broken ribs, a fractured collarbone, multiple abrasions, and a chipped eye socket. She also sustained a right upper arm (or humerus) fracture and a left elbow and forearm fracture. After she was stabilized, Danielle underwent multiple surgeries to repair her lung and arms. “They did it really efficiently,” Danielle says. “I had five surgeries, but I only had to go in the OR twice.”

Danielle spent 12 days in the Intensive Care Unit. “I was pretty out of it,” she says. “But my parents were there all the time. They knew about other hospitals in the area, but they were so glad I was taken to Strong. They said the nurses were great and that people really cared. “

Miraculously, Danielle was able to leave the hospital after a few weeks. “I surprised all the doctors,” she says. “I was leaps and bounds ahead of what they predicted in terms of healing. “ In a wheelchair, she underwent physical therapy and was able to walk on crutches within a few months. “I healed fast because I’m young but also because so many people were supporting me.”

One of those people was her surgeon, Dr. Jonathan Gross, from URMC Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, who specializes in orthopaedic trauma and complex bone fractures. Danielle says, “He was always positive and encouraging and he spoke on my level—I understood him. He was really good about explaining everything. I’d bring in a list of questions and he’d answer all of them for me.”

Less than seven months after the accident, Danielle was almost completely recovered. “I underwent physical therapy to help the pronation in my forearm and to strengthen my leg, but the therapy was really for building strength.”

Perhaps the most difficult part of her recovery was her inability to perform as a singer. Danielle, a coloratura soprano, rehearses daily to recover her vocal range. “Coloratura is so temperamental,“ she says. “It’s two or three notes above everyone else, so I am missing two or three notes in my range right now, but I really do think I’ll get it back.”

Danielle is now married and living life to its fullest. “I’ve learned to live every day as though it’s your last. And appreciate people as though it’s their last,” she says. “I still take things one day at a time. But I was able to get through this because of my family, my faith, and of course, I couldn’t have done it without the doctors and nurses at Strong. I was just so blessed by how they treated me. The care that I got was phenomenal.“

My Second First

Because of my orthopaedic care, I can perform again.


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