SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The business owner of a popular Southwest Miami-Dade restaurant is lucky to be alive after severely injuring her spine and breaking her neck.
Scully’s Tavern owner Cassandra Hirsh is now back at work after a harrowing year.
She stands now with the support of a cane, but her road back to mobility was not easy.
What started out as a normal September morning in 2020 took a terrible turn.
Hirsh was just beginning her day when she stumbled down a flight of stairs in her house.
Wearing her favorite pair of pajamas, she took what she thought was a regular step but got caught in her long pants and fell into an open closet at the bottom of the stairs.
“I can’t remember very much of it at all except that I couldn’t move my right leg and my right hand,” she said. “I was on the ground there trying to get up for several hours, thinking I could, but I couldn’t get up.”
Hirsh was home alone at the time of the accident, laying on the floor for hours before her husband found her.
He called 911, and she was immediately rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center.
Hirsh suffered a crushing blow to her spine.
“Always best to address a spinal cord injury as fast as possible,” said Dr. Ian Cote, a neurosurgeon at Jackson Memorial. “Typically we like to try to address these types of spinal cord injuries within a 24-hour window, which thankfully, we were able to do in Cassandra’s case.”
Cote said the underlying cause of her injury was the fact that she had some arthritis in her spine.
The hard fall only made it worse. Her spine swelled and her spinal cord was bruised.
Doctors went in to help alleviate the arthritis, putting in special spacers to support her spine.
“Thankfully, spinal cord injuries, in general, are relatively rare, and so we tend to see maybe one to two a month at our hospital, and we’re a level two trauma center with a relatively high volume, and so her case is rare,” said Cote.
What followed next was a series of labor-intensive months of hard work on her road to recovery.
But Hirsh was determined.
She underwent 10 months of physical therapy learning to walk and write again since she had lost feeling in her hand.
“She had a very difficult injury, and she was very lucky,” said physical therapist David Riggs. “The injury that she had could have been substantially worse, but she fought the entire way. She had a great support system from her family, her friends, her sister that came; obviously her husband was a huge support for her.”
Now she’s back to walking again at her South Miami restaurant — with the help of her trusty cane.
Hirsh said she never gave up and her positive outlook got her through the tough times.
“I always knew that I was gonna be able to walk again,” she said. “I still have difficulty, and I’m not as sure on my feet as I wish I was, but I’m still trying to do things on my own to stay strong and get better. They nursed me back to health, and I’m doing much, much better, and I’m back here at work and trying to do my best to help manage our restaurant. Just trying to do the day-to-day things to keep the business going.”
She’s grateful to her doctors for being with her every step of the way.
Hirsh was discharged just before Christmas and was able to spend the holidays at home with her family.
She has regained most of the function in her right hand and is still working on regaining all of the strength in her right leg.
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