The Power of Medicine

Luis - Orlando, Florida
Entered on May 30, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I can recollect memories about my mother beginning from when I was about five years old. Despite the amazing human being my mother is, there are particular characteristics that stand out in arguably every single memory of her. These included her always being tired, always being in pain, and never being able to walk very far without sitting down for a little bit when we were at Disney World. When I was nine years old, my mother went into a room at a hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I was told doctors were going to “fix mommy”. My mother came out with a scar on her chest, and no more pain. As I grew older, I learned that in 1998 my mother had surgery on her heart.

I’ve come a long way since 1998, a second year undergraduate student hoping to someday have the letters M.D. stitched after my last name. In all my research, I have learned my mother suffered from Atrial-Septal Defect, or ASD. ASD is a congenital heart disease where there is a hole between the atriums of the heart, where the oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood are able to mix through the hole. During the surgery, a doctor opened up my mother’s chest and closed the holes in her heart, and stitched her back up.

To the doctor who performed the surgery it might have been just another $30,000 surgery (around $50,000 today) – a routine procedure where the patient has no name, but a condition that must be fixed. In my eyes, he is an angel who has given me my mother back. She had a problem that would have taken her from me earlier than it should’ve been, but now I will have her for many years to come. A lot of thought has led me to the idea that I owe the doctor who fixed my mother more than I previously thought I did. His skills and knowledge didn’t only affect her; I have concluded that who I am today is due in majority to my mother, and I wouldn’t have her without the doctor who fixed her heart.

I believe in medicine and the power it has to change lives. Not only the lives of the individual patients, but also every life that is changed by that person. In my eyes, having the power to save a life is the power to change the world. The amount of people touched by a doctor can’t be quantitatively measured. Medicine has the power to give light to someone who lives in darkness, or steer a lost soul back towards the right path. When a life is saved, people change. From there, a chain reaction occurs because those people want to help others change without having to go through a life-changing experience. I believe unconditionally in the power of science and medicine to better people’s lives, and one step at a time, change the world.