Brooklyn woman's car crash survival leads to lifesaving diagnosis

A Brooklyn woman's horrific experience surviving a car crash led to a lifesaving diagnosis.
"Out of something that was so horrific, just a few blocks from here, came something so miraculous and I think life-affirming," Yolanda Cartusciello says after she and her husband were struck in their car in Sunset Park this past January.
Cartusciello would then receive a diagnosis she could have never seen coming.
"Thymomas are dangerous because they don’t create a lot of symptoms, so patients aren't aware that they’re there. It’s a very, very rare tumor of the anterior chest. It’s about 1.5 cases per million people," explains Dr. Travis Geraci, who is a thoracic surgeon at NYU Langone Brooklyn.
After the crash, an ambulance took Carusciello to the emergency center at NYU Langone Brooklyn with only minor injuries. But the news that followed some routine testing, she says, was almost unbelievable.
"Yolanda's tumor was right about here, just sitting on top of her heart," Geraci says while gesturing to his chest area.
"The airbag I think saved my life in more than one way. When I got into the ambulance my first thought was, 'I’m not really even sure I want to go to the hospital.' But the ambulance drivers really convinced me that it would be a good idea to go and get checked out and boy am I glad they did," Cartusciello recalls.
On April 4, Geraci and his staff at the NYU Langone Brooklyn team worked to remove Cartusciello's stage 2 thymoma, along with a tumor found in her uterus. She will now embark on a six-week journey of radiation treatment.
"I am just completely amazed at the level of client experience that I’ve had working with NYU Langone," Cartusciello says.
Along with the staff here at the Perlmutter Cancer Center, Cartusciello has special people to thank for keeping her spirits bright through the darkness.
"Without the love and support of my husband and daughter, I don’t know that I would be doing it nearly as well as I am. I would not be anything without them," Cartusciello says while teary eye.