By Noah Jordan ~ Twelve years ago, on July 26, 2006, I was an 11-year-old spending time with friends at a county fair when I got a call that my uncle, Dr. Daniel Herbert, had suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. My mom and I boarded a plane to Maine to be with him.
My uncle is the type of man who never asks for help or shows weakness. He is a caretaker — a man who would do anything to help anyone. Now he lay incapacitated in a hospital bed surrounded by his heavy-hearted family.
Even in such a debilitated state he was insistent on not being any trouble to his wife and family. After much debate, he was finally convinced to travel to Boston for proper treatment. However, he was not willing to take LifeFlight because he wanted to “save that for sick people.”
When we arrived in Boston, he was placed in the care of neurosurgeon Dr. Christopher Ogilvy, who successfully clipped his aneurysm and saved his life. I still remember standing in the family waiting area listening to Dr. Ogilvy, in his lobster scrub cap, tell me that my uncle — who is also my hero— had survived and, other than a bad haircut, was going to be fine.
This event forever changed my life. From near death, a man who meant the world to me was restored to my life. This inspired me to pursue a career in medicine, and specifically neurosurgery. I wanted to be like Dr. Ogilvy and restore happiness to families in their most vulnerable moments.
Eleven years later, I entered my first semester of medical school, still focused on the same goals and, thankfully, with an uncle who is still practicing medicine. I reached out to Dr. Ogilvy and told him that saving my uncle’s life had changed mine. He invited me to join his research team between terms at medical school. So, this summer I had the honor and pleasure of working for Dr. Ogilvy and the Brain Aneurysm Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
I am grateful that I have been able to work with the Brain Aneurysm Foundation and to hear others’ stories and also share my own. This has given me a unique opportunity to reflect on these stories, my work, and my own experiences to hopefully guide me to become an understanding and compassionate physician.