For Immediate Release                                                                                   
Contact: Kristin Tutino, (585) 258-0253

Episode Features University of Rochester Medical Center’s
Dr. Brad Berk and His Wife Mary

(Rochester, NY) October 21, 2010– WXXI presents the highlight to series seven of Second Opinion, its national health care series, with a primetime special on spinal cord injuries. In Second Opinion Special Edition: Spinal Cord Injury, airing Thursday, November 11 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11), University of Rochester Medical Center CEO Dr. Brad Berk shares his personal story about his 2009 bicycle accident that injured his spinal cord, and has left him in a wheelchair.

Each week Second Opinion host Dr. Peter Salgo presents an actual medical case to a panel of experts. In Spinal Cord Injury Dr. Berk joins panelists Dr. David Chen, Medical Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Dr. Paul Maurer, a neurosurgeon at the University of Rochester Medical Center, to discuss his accident and treatment. Mary Berk MSW, Dr. Berk's wife, joins him on set to share her experiences since his accident, including how it has affected their lives. She offers firsthand advice to families undergoing similar challenges. Patient panelist Charlie Durkee also joins in the conversation, as he shares the trials he has faced since his accident which left him paralyzed at the age of 22.

Over 11,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries every year. Many are left with some form of irreversible damage, such as paralysis. Although medical scientists are working toward the day when the effects of spinal cord injuries can be reversed, today's therapies focus on helping disabled individuals lead productive, independent lives.

Second Opinion is endorsed by both the American Hospital Association and the Association of Academic Health Centers. Dr. Roger Oskvig, an acknowledged leader in Gerontology and associate professor of medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center, is the series’ principal medical advisor.

In addition to the weekly broadcast, Second Opinion engages and educates viewers online through a comprehensive Web site at Viewers can find in-depth background on numerous diseases and conditions. Second Opinion also sends out highlights via Facebook and Twitter.

Seen on more than 250 public television stations across the country, Second Opinion airs on WXXI-TV/HD Saturdays at 3 p.m. and again on Sundays at 1:30 p.m. The series has garnered three Communicator Awards, seven Bronze Telly Awards, a Gold Award from the World Wide Web Health Awards for Patient Education Information, and a Gold Aurora Award. The series is distributed by American Public Television. Second Opinion is made possible in part by support from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), which has been the major funder since the series’ inception in 2004.

WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to for more information about our services and programs.

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