A Mother's Reflection on a Surgeon...

Shortly after posting a quote by Dr. Jamie J. Coleman about what it means to her to be a mother, a wife, AND a surgeon, I saw a comment by a woman who, by the context of the comment, appeared to be the beneficiary of Dr. Coleman's work.  I reached out to her and she provided a horrific, amazing, and inspirational account of her undesired, yet 'divine' encounter with this amazing surgeon.  It is a story that transcends the boundaries of technical medicine to touch the human spirit in a way that defies the stereotype of the cold, hands-on but heart-off, face-behind-the-mask, surgeon.  I share her experience below...

Mrs. Daugherty's story...

The last census reporting for the United States was 321.42 million people. I probably know about a thousand of those people, if I am lucky.  But out of all of those people, one person has forever made an imprint on my life...and it will last a lifetime.  A chance meeting on May 12, 2015 at approximately 12:00 in the afternoon.  Awoken that morning by a knock on our door by a police officer and being told our 20 year old son was being 'life-lined' and critical. He said, “Get to Indianapolis now.”  The drive is pretty much a blur but in-route, my husband’s cell phone rang.  He was maneuvering traffic, blinded by tears, and frantic, but was able to answer it.  It was Dr. Jamie Jones Coleman, MD. She explained that our son, Grant, had been initially transported to another hospital, but was now at IU Methodist and she was going into surgery.  Dr. Coleman said, “He’s is in bad shape, but I promise to do the best I can.” We couldn’t believe a surgeon would personally call us prior to going into the Operating Room to perform surgery on our critically-injured son.

Little did we know this was only the beginning. Dr. Jamie Coleman ate lunch with us, called us, consulted with his trauma team, and contacted us many times throughout our son's 56-day stay. If we were confused or afraid about something she was there to calm our nerves, consult, or do what it took to put us at ease. Every time I saw her, the tears would flow, even thinking about her now, the tears flow. There are no words to express what she gave us - she saved our son.  She, in-essence, saved me too. Having her own life, her own family, she still made time for mine.  I once told her that I believe God sent her to medical school so on that day, she would be where she was - to be there for our son. I still believe that.  I will never be able to think of her without my heart smiling.

Dr. Coleman took being a trauma surgeon to a completely new level.  Here is this amazingly smart, beautiful, totally out-of-our-league person and yet, she met us at our level.  She saw us as a set of parents going through a terrible incident in our lives - watching our son be in so much pain.  Yet, she reasoned with us in a way that went far beyond the science of medicine. There aren’t too many doctors who would do that, but there aren’t too many doctors like her.  So even though there are hundreds of millions of people in our country, Dr. Coleman to us, isn’t a one-in-a-million person, she is a once-in-a-lifetime doctor.

- Katherine Daugherty
August 10, 2016

Perhaps that's what makes Dr. Coleman's original quote so fitting - the interdependence that being a mother and wife has on her ability to perform as a surgeon, and vice-versa: