Why I Didn 't Know How It Would Influence My Life

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In spring 2004, a phone call from my mother changed my life. She told me in our native language, Aramaic, “the doctor dropped your godson Allen during the C-section.” The physician had committed malpractice, inflicting severe trauma to Allen’s neck during delivery causing spinal cord injury from vertebral levels C5 to T12. My family barely spoke English, and so I had to become my godson’s primary caregiver. Allen’s injury caused tetraplegia and impaired breathing, requiring him to have a tracheostomy. During the daytime I performed much of his tracheostomy care, which involved frequent suctioning of his secretions. At night a homecare nurse managed his suctioning. Despite the challenges Allen was quite healthy and happy, but in spring 2007 his night nurse fell asleep while on duty. Without anyone to suction Allen’s secretions he developed a mucus plug, and our family was devastated to learn that this caused his death. At the time of my godson’s passing I did not know how it would influence my life. I was beginning college and working part-time with my high school Co-Op mentor Physician Assistant Theresa Jones at the Neurosurgery Group. I aspired to become a physician assistant but being a full-time caregiver while balancing school and work took its toll on my academic performance. When my godson passed away I was heartbroken, and the circumstances of his death stirred up a whirlwind of frustration, guilt and anger. I knew little about mucus plugs but I knew that I did not

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