Man with brain injury defying odds, medical school graduate

David Jevotovsky isn’t the same as before his accident – but he miraculously feels like he’s back at ‘100%’.

Five years ago, the 28-year-old freshman doctor didn’t know if he could walk or talk again — let alone run the New York City Marathon and graduate from NYU Grossman School of Medicine — after a catastrophic, life-changing collision .

In the fall of 2017, Jevotovsky rode his bike from Kips Bay to the scenic West Side Highway and down to Chelsea — without wearing a helmet — to meet classmates and study neurology.

Suddenly the lights went out. He had been hit by a car.

“I wake up a month later,” Jevotovsky told the Post. Thus began his long journey to recovery – and collecting his medical diploma on May 18th.

After his accident, the unconscious cyclist was taken to Bellevue Hospital with an epidural hematoma — or bleeding between his skull and brain. Left untreated, such injuries can lead to permanent brain damage and death.

“It was big and put a lot of pressure on his brain,” said his neurosurgeon, Dr. Post’s Dimitris Placantonakis on the life-threatening injury. However, he added, “It could have been worse.” Cases like Jevotovsky’s often require additional surgeries, even when the initial treatment approach works.

David Jevotovsky in hospital coma
David Jevotovsky was placed in a week-long medically-induced coma while doctors monitored his brain.
Courtesy of David Jevotovsky
David Jevotovsky in the hospital
The pressure on David Jevotovsky’s brain after the accident was enough to leave him with permanent brain damage.
Alan Barnett

First, the team inserted a pressure monitor into Jevotovsky’s brain so they could take readings while the patient remained in a medically induced coma.

Clinically, Jevotovsky regained consciousness in about a week but existed in the fog.

“I myself lost a month of my life in terms of memories because I was heavily sedated and in a coma for a period,” he said. Those hazy days in the ICU were filled with “delusions,” he said — then correcting himself: “a delirium.”

Perhaps the only thing he was really delusional about at the time was his unwavering desire to help the sick — which manifested itself in comical ways on occasion.

“I have a vivid image of a child being rolled onto a hospital bed and then asking me if I would donate my kidney – that he has this rare disease called Good Pastures,” recalled the prospective clinician. whose mind struggled to tap into deep memories while restoring the neural connections lost in the crash.

He recalled saying “yes” to the child, of course. But later, when he was “a little bit more about it,” his affectionately mocking father asked him, “So where’s the scar?” looked down where the scars would be.

“And there was obviously nothing,” he laughed.

David Jevotovsky in the hospital
About a month after his accident, David Jevotovsky was discharged from Bellevue Hospital for inpatient rehab in his hometown of Rochester, New York.
Alan Barnett

Since then he has reflected on his interest in the human body, which is deeply rooted in his heart.

Jevotovsky said his grandfather was “a giant patriarch,” and his death from leukemia when Jevotovsky was just a kindergartener nagged and intrigued the proud grandson — and he never wavered from his goal of becoming a doctor.

However, those plans were temporarily dashed by his traumatic brain injury — for which he returned to Rochester, New York, for inpatient rehabilitation.

“Sometimes there was a little bit of hopelessness,” he admitted. He also hated his loss of independence.

Jevotovsky’s muscles had atrophied during his month-long bed, causing him to “gasp” at the slightest exertion, and the effects of his cerebral hemorrhage sometimes left him intellectually exhausted.

At the behest of his doctors, parents and the school dean, he had to take a semester’s leave of absence. Still, he was determined to continue studying on his own and did so with the help of his family and classmates, who often questioned him about his progress.

“I have the best support system in the world. And I’m so happy for that,” he said.

During this time he finally decided to pursue a career in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

“I just set my priorities after the accident,” explained Jevotovsky, who originally thought he was going to be a surgeon. “My family and friends were everything to me after that, as was my freedom. . . So that didn’t align with my ultimate life goals going forward.”

Just one year after his accident - and four years before he went to medical school - David Jevotovsky also successfully completed the 2018 New York City Marathon.
Just one year after his accident – and four years before he went to medical school – David Jevotovsky also successfully completed the 2018 New York City Marathon. He is seen here with his proud parents on graduation day.
Courtesy of David Jevotovsky
David Jevotovsky at graduation
David Jevotovsky told the Post he has some strong advice for cyclists: don’t make the same mistake he did and wear a helmet.
Alan Barnett

He made remarkable progress and showed everyone what he’s made of when he ran the 2018 New York City Marathon, just a year after the accident.

“It’s 100% different. The 100% I may have known before is history. But the new David works absolutely 100%.”

Jevotovsky on feeling like his old self again when he returns to NYC

Though even that wasn’t without its hiccups. He recalled making it to mile 24 near Central Park — but then he got “dizzy.”

“It was a scary moment for my family,” he said. They had been watching him through the smartphone app, which allows spectators to remotely follow certain runners during the run. “[My] dot stopped moving and they freaked out,” he continued, “because, you know, my dot Yes, really just stopped moving the year before.” (He eventually finished the course in 4 hours 19 minutes.)

Five years later, after graduating on May 18, he had just a few weeks off before completing undergraduate internal medicine training at Mount Sinai Morningside West. In a year, he will return to his alma mater to complete his residency at NYU Langone Rusk Rehabilitation.

“It’s miraculous in many ways,” said his neurosurgeon, Placantonakis, who looks forward to staying in touch with Jevotovsky during his upcoming residency.

“It’s something that enriches me personally as a treating doctor,” the doctor added. “It’s one of those inspirational stories that everyone needs to know.”

With his unique perspective, Jevotovsky told The Post he was more than ready to start treating patients in physical rehabilitation and insisted nothing was holding him back.

He’s also been asked by many if he feels back to his old self – “100%” – especially on his return to the city.

“It’s 100% different,” Jevotovsky mused. “The 100% I may have known before is history. But the new David works absolutely 100%.” Man with brain injury defying odds, medical school graduate


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