On a chilly October evening in 2011, a horrific car accident left 53-year-old In Yong Kim, of Cherry Hill, N.J., clinging to life with five broken ribs, spine and pelvic fractures, severe head trauma with swelling in the brain and internal bleeding. In order to save her life, a team of skilled surgeons at Cooper University Hospital, Jonathan D. Bussey, DO, neurosurgeon at Cooper Neurological Institute, and John Chovanes, DO, trauma surgeon, needed to perform immediate brain and abdominal surgery.

Upon arrival to Cooper, Kim was taken directly from the trauma admitting area into the operating room where both physicians were prepared to perform each surgery—simultaneously.

“Due to the severity of her injuries, we knew time was of the essence,” said Dr. Bussey. “She had already lost a lot of blood due to the tear in her abdomen and we needed to alleviate the swelling in her brain. The only logical decision was to do both surgeries at once.”

Although it’s uncommon for these two very different procedures to be done at the same time, Cooper has the capabilities to treat any patient who comes through their door, offering a team of skilled professionals who are in-house 24 hours a day/seven days a week, with constant access to our state-of-the-art hybrid operating rooms.

“The surgery was such a success because we had an excellent team of experts from both Trauma and Neurosurgery that came together as one to save this patients life. This included the surgeons, anesthesia specialists, respiratory therapists, technicians and nurses,” said Dr. Bussey. “I think the important message to take away from all of this is when placed in the right environment, even patients with the most traumatic injuries can achieve great results.”

“Her complex resuscitation, simultaneous operations, critical care and her recovery required total hospital focus,” said Dr. Chovanes, who also serves as a trauma surgeon for the United States military and has recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan. “I have seen some difficult injuries in my career, but Ms. Kim’s amazing recovery speaks not only to her resolve to live, but to the incredible team effort that occurs at Cooper every day.”

Kim spent a total of 50 days in the hospital, 12 of which were spent in Cooper’s Trauma Intensive Care Unit. Although it took some time at first, every day there was improvement. Kim credits the medical professionals at Cooper and the unending support of her fiancé, Michael, for her recovery and giving her a second chance at life.