Bed-Stuy resident Julissa Marquez thought her life was over on December 10, of 2013 when her angry ex-boyfriend violently attacked her in her own home. Marquez was home in her Summer Homes apartment with her 12-year-old son when her ex-boyfriend, Miguel Cordero, showed up at her door naked and mumbling incoherently. Soon the situation escalated and Cordero jumped on top of Marques and began to stab her with a 12-inch knife nearly 30 times. The stabbings caused serious injuries to her head, neck, and stomach before she was left for dead. Cordero was later found bloody and screaming in the streets when authorities arrived at the scene.
Marquez was rushed to Kings County hospital where doctors acted swiftly in hopes of not only saving her life, but salvaging her eye sight as she had sustained stab wounds through each eye and around the eye sockets.
“The doctors there told me, ‘You’re never going to see again,’” Marquez told the New York Daily News. “I wouldn’t believe it. I knew I was going to get my sight back.”
Her ex-boyfriend was arrested and charged with second-degree attempted murder though he was able to plead not guilty by reason of mental disease. After a lengthy investigation, he was committed to the custody of the Office of Mental Health in 2014. With the confidence that she was no longer in danger, she began the long journey of rebuilding her eyes. Within a few short weeks, the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai hospital was tasked with the extensive surgeries in hopes of repairing her eyes.
The surgery team, directed by Dr. Ronald Gentile, acted fast to rebuild the muscles within the eyes and to repair the optic nerve that had been severed. The team warned her that the surgeries would only restore her ability to see light and color variations.
Because the optic nerve was nearly severed on her left side, the surgeries in that eye were only able to restore her ability to see light and color variations. Upon completion of her last major operation in 2015, Marquez has regained a substantial amount of her sight and can now see enough to walk by herself, though she still employs a cane.