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Nicole Gentile

Hackensack, NJ
  • Nicole Gentile in the photo 1

In February 2011, my arm was badly injured in a car accident. The injury forced me to take leave from graduate school, thwarted my plan to apply to medical school, and commit to a new goal of regaining function in my arm. For months I complied with a vigorous rehabilitation schedule that produced intolerable pain with little progress. I felt no other emotion except for hopelessness upon realizing I had not touched my face with my dominant hand in seven months.

It was not until I met Dr. Hotchkiss and the HSS team that my hopelessness was replaced with the hope of recovery. With each reconstructive surgery performed at HSS, I began to care for myself independently, and utilized my right hand to eat and write again. These are normally effortless tasks, but at the time were momentous accomplishments. They served as a reminder of how far I had come since the accident and motivated me to progress further in all aspects of life. I realized the injury I sustained, which I once regarded as the end of an aspiration to become a physician, was a mere obstacle and invaluable learning experience.

Four years since the car accident, I am now a 2nd year medical student with nothing holding me back and a long career ahead of me. I truly benefited from medicine, as HSS innovative surgical approaches gave me a fully functional arm and life back. I regained full function and range of motion of my elbow, wrist, and fingers. Further, I have a physician to emulate in my career. Dr. Hotchkiss provided me with expert, individualized care and sincerely cared about my well-being aside from the physical injury. I can also now appreciate collaboration in medicine, as Dr. Hotchkiss worked within a team of dedicated physicians, assistants, nurses, and therapists to create my treatment plan. There is no better way for me to show my appreciation and make a meaningful contribution to society than by becoming a physician. It is a true saying that life can change in an instant, as I personally experienced. Moreover, it is these life-altering moments that may actually define who we are and will become.