Doctor who survived 6 brain surgeries now helps patients going through similar rehab

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Wednesday, August 3, 2022
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Doctor who survived 6 brain surgeries helps patients doing similar rehab she did.

HOUSTON, TEXAS -- Claudia Martinez is a resident physician at TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehab Hospital where just a few years ago she was a patient herself.

When she was a college student at the University of Houston, Dr. Martinez suddenly began having headaches and blacking out. She was diagnosed with a condition called Chiari malformation. It involves brain tissue extending into the spinal cord, which can cause paralysis.

Since she was diagnosed, Dr. Martinez has had six major brain surgeries. It was her dream to be a doctor so she didn't allow her surgeries to stop her. After her last surgery, she had a stroke that paralyzed her from the neck down and left her unable to write, use a laptop, or even turn the pages in her books. Dr. Martinez's mom stepped in as her hands during that time in medical school, while she went through therapy at TIRR, where she relearned how to walk after several months.

Now after graduating from UTHealth McGovern Medical School, Dr. Martinez is back at TIRR on the other side as a doctor helping people with rehab. Her attending physicians say Dr. Martinez is in the unique position of relating to her patients since she has been in their shoes.

We first introduced you to Dr. Martinez three years ago when she was still a medical student.

Dr. Martinez says another thing is she got married! Her husband saw her original story with ABC13, he reached out, and the rest is history.