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Boat accident victim undergoes world's first nerve graph

Danielle Press thanks doctors after being able to walk again after last year's accident

A woman who was severely injured and unable to walk was able to walk again thanks to a medical breakthrough.
A woman who was severely injured and unable to walk was able to walk again thanks to a medical breakthrough.

MIAMI – A woman is thanking her doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital after they successfully completed a surgery that has never been done before.

Danielle Press suffered life-threatening injuries in Key Biscayne last year, after a boat propeller severed flesh, muscle and nerve. By the time she got to JMH's Ryder Trauma Center she lost a lot of blood and nearly died.

Press is now doing great and making big steps forward after she underwent the world's first nerve graph. The sciatic nerve in her left leg had been cut and separated. Doctors say it is vital and controls the majority of movement and sensation in that leg.

Doctors got approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to perform the unique one-of-a-kind procedure to graft cells, hoping to generate nerves in the human body and it was a big success.

"I feel wonderful," Press told Local 10 News. "I mean, obviously each day presents certain hardships and certain frustrations that come with the injury."

"My first thought was she is never going to walk again," Dr. Gabriel Ruiz told Local 10 News reporter Ben Kennedy.

"What do you think today?" asked Kennedy.

"It is incredible," said Ruiz.  "I hadn't seen her in a few months, and I was telling Danielle how shocking it was for me to see her get up from the chair, walk toward me and give me a hug. It was probably one of the best things that I can remember with a patient."

Follow Ben Kennedy on Twitter @BenKennedyTV

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