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.

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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.”

About UPMC

A $21 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates more than 90,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.8 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.4 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $500 million in federal, state, and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial, and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to