College student returning to normal after life-saving surgery

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Lauren Glassberg reports on the 21-year-old's life-saving surgery after suffering life-threatening injuries from a car crash.

A young woman who suffered life-threatening injuries after a car crash is now getting back to normal.

Doctors at Jacobi Medical Center moved fast to save her life, performing risky surgery that left her in the hospital for weeks.

"I kept repeating like, I'm gonna die," said Viktoria Pavic.

Things did not look good for her. In August, the 21-year-old was involved in a three-car crash on the Hutchinson River Parkway.

She was raced to Jacobi. She was bleeding to death after the largest vein in her body had been sliced.

"We opened her up, there was a volcano of blood," said Dr Sheldon Teperman.

He is the head of trauma and tried to do what was virtually impossible: repair her retrohepatic vena cava.

"There are more scientific articles written about fixing this thing than there are people that have survived it," said Dr. Teperman.

It is a difficult kind of surgery that needs to be done immediately.

The surgery was a success and it may have been the first successful surgery of its kind in New York City.

Viktoria spent six weeks at Jacobi, much of it in the ICU. And this month she finally returned to college in Poughkeepsie.

"I used to not be able to stand for three minutes and now I'm able to go out for hours, stuff like that," said Viktoria. "When I would be so exhausted, but now I can handle more and more and it's really a good feeling."

Her medical team is thrilled with her progress.

"When the patients really pull through as Viktoria did, it's really very rewarding to see them walk around, talk and be active and have a good life," said ICU head nurse Donnette Kelly.

Viktoria is a science major and may now pursue a career in medicine.

"Maybe I'll be a doctor too, that would be nice, to help someone else the way they helped me," she said.

She is living proof of the power of medicine. "I think this is amongst the best things this hospital has ever done," said Dr. Teperman.
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