My experience as a child sparked a keen interest in how we approach pediatric care, especially as it relates to our psychological and emotional support of children facing serious medical conditions.
It was here that I experienced first-hand the power and compassion of medicine, not only in healing but also in bringing unlikely individuals together, such as adults and children, in uncommon yet profound ways.
And it was here that I began to take seriously the possibility of becoming a pediatric surgeon.
My interest was sparked even more when, as an undergraduate, I was asked to assist in a study one of my professors was conducting on how children experience and process fear and the prospect of death.
I joined the National Guard before graduating high school and continued my service when I began college.
My goal was to receive training that would be valuable for my future medical career, as I was working in the field of emergency health care. When I was called to active duty in Iraq for my first deployment, I was forced to withdraw from school, and my deployment was subsequently extended.When I was twelve years old, a drunk driver hit the car my mother was driving while I was in the backseat.I have very few memories of the accident, but I do faintly recall a serious but calming face as I was gently lifted out of the car.This is the type of extraordinary care that I received as a child—care that seemed to approach my injuries with a much larger and deeper picture than that which pure medicine cannot offer—and it is this sort of care I want to provide my future patients.I turned what might have been a debilitating event in my life—a devastating car accident—into the inspiration that has shaped my life since. And while I know that the pediatric surgery program at Johns Hopkins will likely be the second biggest challenge I will face in my life, I know that I am up for it.We are slowly learning that procedures and drugs are not always universally effective.Not only must we alter our care of patients depending upon these cultural and social factors, we may also need to alter our entire emotional and psychological approach to them as well.During my stay, I also got to know the various doctors and nurses in the hospital on a personal level.I remember feeling anxiety about my condition, but not sadness or even fear.The paramedic held my hand as we traveled to the hospital.I was in the hospital for several weeks and that same paramedic came to visit me almost every day.