Paula Franetti

A devastating car crash in September 2016 left Paula Franetti with severe injuries to her pelvis, spine, diaphragm, and bladder. She needed four surgical procedures, and she also suffered a concussion and knee injury.

But the crash didn’t damage Franetti’s heart, nor did it weaken her will.


The Regent Square resident decided in the days after the crash that she wouldn’t let her injuries sink her. She determined as she lay in her bed in the UPMC Mercy intensive care unit that she would steer her recovery.

That’s exactly what she did.

A long and difficult recovery process threw several obstacles at Franetti, including a case of post-traumatic stress disorder that required treatment. But she met every challenge, along with the help of her doctors, family, and friends.


Nearly three years after the crash, Franetti lives the active life she had before her crash. And as hard as the recovery process was, she knows her grit made it possible to get there.

“What I’ve learned from this experience is that everybody has that inner drive if they just let it come,” Franetti says. “They have to have a motivation to want to get better.”