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Metro Detroit Woman's Amazing Recovery After Near Fatal Crash

Crash Leads to Traumatic Brain Injury
Posted at 10:23 AM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 10:34:35-05

A Metro Detroit woman defies the odds by surviving a near fatal crash only to be left with a traumatic brain injury.

It could have left her in a vegetative state for life but months after the crash, she's on her way to reclaiming the future she nearly loss.

At the time of the crash Emily was studying to become a nurse. Her fiancé Justin Barger is also a medical professional. He’s a clinical laboratory scientist.

In mid-August, Emily and Justin decided to treat themselves to a long weekend in Traverse City. After spending a day at the beach their car was T-boned by a pick-up truck as they left the parking lot. Emily’s mother Kim Falcioni can still here the doctor’s chilling words.

"She said ‘when I examine your daughter I do not see much. I see a person in maybe a year with a lot of therapy and rehab and cognitive rehab will be able to dress herself, be cognitive of her bowel and bladder possibly, to never be able to live on her own. possibly in a group setting. I literally stopped breathing."

Emily was placed in a medically induced coma in Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. Meanwhile her fiancé Justin was down the hall; also on life support.

Kim Falcioni made a point to visit him as well.

"He's got his own recovery. I mean he's got a chest tube. He's got a ruptured bladder. He's got a pelvis that's fractured in three places.

After awaking from her coma, the extent of her injuries became clearer. They weren't as bad as originally thought but the situation certainly wasn't’ good.

Emily’s mother said, "She actually thought when I asked her age that she was 8-years-old. I said, 'how old are you Emily? She said eight. I said no Emily you're 27."

To this day, Emily has no recollection of that time. About three weeks after the crash she was transferred The DMC's Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.

Emily recovery was place in the hands of Dr. Peter Gumma.

"The prognosis we were given was a poor prognosis. A patient who would likely not be ambulatory and I remember after I examined Emily for the first time I turned and looked at her mother and told her that she'll finish nursing school and she'll walk on her wedding."

Dr. Gumma and the staff at The Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan were able to obtain amazing results. Roughly six months after a traumatic brain injury, Emily is about to graduate from nursing school near the top of her class. Justin recovery is also going well. The two plan to get married in the summer of 2018!

Emily says, "This place changed my life in a great way. They helped me reclaim the life that I did have and I wouldn't be here today without the medical team and all the people who are here at the Rehabilitation Institute.