Pregnant Coram Resident Survives Car Accident and Receives Spinal Surgery at Southside Hospital

Ms. Catalina Vady, five months pregnant, is looking forward to her first child due January 3rd!

BAY SHORE, NY – A 32-year-old Coram woman was driving home from work on the Long Island Expressway this past May, when her car was rear-ended and she fell unconscious.

When Catalina Vady came to, she was able to feel her arms and her legs and at that moment, she was relieved that she was not paralyzed.  Of more concern to her, however, was that she was seven weeks pregnant.

Ms. Vady was stabilized by first responders at the scene and transferred to Southside Hospital (SSH), part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.  She was seen by SSH’s neurosurgeon Justin Thomas, MD.  Upon revealing that she was seven weeks pregnant, a sonogram was performed and showed that everything was normal.

While the baby was fine, a computed tomography (CT) scan revealed that Ms. Vady incurred a C5 spinal column injury and torn ligaments, requiring an anterior and posterior cervical fusion.  In this two-part, six-hour procedure, Dr. Thomas first removed the damaged C5-6 ligament and disk from the front of the neck and replaced it with a graft and plate.  He then placed rods and screws at four levels in the back of the neck to further stabilize Ms. Vady’s spinal column.

A post-surgical sonogram was performed to make sure that the baby was fine and once again, the results were normal.  During the operation, it was critical to shield the patient’s abdomen and fetus from the radiation necessary to ensure proper placement of the rods, screws and plates needed to fuse the spine.

Now five months pregnant -- due on Jan. 3 -- Ms. Vady says that her faith helped pull her through this life-altering experience.

“You never think that something like this is going to happen to you,” said Ms. Vady.  “While I consider myself a good driver, it’s everyone else on the road you need to be concerned about. The car accident was an eye-opener for me. I have to take a step back.   The health of myself and my baby come first and I am so grateful to the staff at Southside Hospital for taking care of both of us.”

To learn more about Southside Hospital’s Department of Neurosciences, click here.


About North Shore-LIJ Health System
One of the nation's largest health systems, North Shore-LIJ delivers world-class clinical care throughout the New York metropolitan area, pioneering research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, a visionary approach to medical education highlighted by the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, and healthcare coverage to individuals, families and businesses through the CareConnect Insurance Co. Inc. North Shore-LIJ cares for people at every stage of life at 21 hospitals and about 450 outpatient physician practices throughout the region. North Shore-LIJ’s owned hospitals and long-term care facilities house more than 6,600 beds, employ more than 13,300 nurses and have affiliations with more than 10,290 physicians. With a workforce of more than 61,000, North Shore-LIJ is the largest private employer in New York State.  For more information, go to













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