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Former teen model completes 16th surgery at Cohen Children’s Medical Center

From left: Dr. James Bradley, Nicole SIncavage and Robert Sinclair, Jr. of AAA Northeast.
From left: Dr. James Bradley, Nicole SIncavage and Robert Sinclair, Jr. of AAA Northeast.

Dr. James Bradley rebuilt car crash victim's face, confidence

NEW HYDE PARK, NY —

Nicole Sincavage, 24, of Bethlehem, PA, has come a long way since March 24, 2016, when a devastating auto accident resulted in a diagnosis of pan-facial fractures. In simplest language, Nicole and her mother, Sharon, quickly learned the meaning of this diagnosis – the initial CT scan revealed that every bone in her face was fractured and displaced. For the aspiring actress and model (who remembers nothing of the accident), this was a life-altering piece of news.

Ms. Sincavage returned to Cohen Children’s Medical Center to thank James Bradley, MD, vice chair of surgery at Northwell Health, who performed her final two reconstructive surgeries at Cohen Children’s. Ms. Sincavage explained that when the time came about a year ago to complete her facial reconstruction, her research led her to Dr. Bradley.

“Immediately following her accident three years ago, Nicole’s initial surgeries were meant to be life-saving, but she was left with a severe facial deformity,” said Dr. Bradley. “Her eyes were too far apart, her nose was completely collapsed, her cheek bones stuck out, her jaw was misaligned, and she had multiple facial scars.”

During the final two surgeries, Dr. Bradley work included moving Ms. Sincage’s eyes back to the midline. In addition, her nose was re-supported with a bone graft from her head; her cheek was re-broken and put back into place; her jaw was re-aligned, and her scars were treated.

“After the foundation of her face was rebuilt,” said Dr. Bradley, “the soft tissue (the skin, fat muscle) was modified so that she would feel comfortable going back to her old life.”

100 Deadliest Days

Also present at their reunion was Robert Sinclair, Jr., manager of media relations at AAA Northeast. Mr. Sinclair noted that the story of this tragic accident and its aftermath was especially powerful on this day, which the auto industry has described as one of the deadliest days of the year in the United States in terms of auto fatalities.

“At AAA, we want people to understand that riding in a car is the most dangerous thing they can do in a day,” said Mr. Sinclair.  “Every year, 40,000 Americans die in automobile crashes.

“We know that the first week of August is traditionally the worst in the United States for auto accidents,” he continued. “In fact, it falls well within the ‘100 Deadliest Days’ of the year from Memorial Day through Labor Day when fatal crashes involving teens increase by 17 percent, compared to the rest of the year.”

The reasons for this grim statistic are many, he said. Such factors as distracted driving, people going on vacation, young people being out of school – these are all contributing factors to the high incidence of automobile accidents and fatalities during this time.

To emphasize the seriousness of these concerns, Mr. Sinclair pointed out that since the year 2000, there were more auto fatalities (624,000) than American soldiers killed in both World War I and World War II combined (535,000).

After seeing the images of her shattered face and listening to the reality of automobile fatalities, Ms. Sincavage said she hopes to be able to reach young people with her story for two reasons – to advocate for safe driving and to urge them to remain hopeful and positive.

“It’s a hard, long road to recovery,” said Ms. Sincavage, who is still suffering from anxiety about her ordeal. “I just want people to know that we all struggle with something. I’m here to tell people that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever strength you have, you have to use to get through your situation. Life can change in a few seconds, but you have to remember – life is beautiful.”