A few weeks ago our dear cousin Rebecca died. She was only 38 years old, a mother of two very young children. She had an MD, a PhD, and an MBA from some of the top universities in the US. She died of an extremely aggressive cancer, whose first significant symptom was a stroke.
While she was hospitalized, the Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, arrived there for a meeting dressed in his uniform and with a large entourage. He was hard to miss.
One of our group of concerned friends and relatives who were holding a vigil in the hospital lobby remembered that Rebecca had reported to Dr. Murthy when they were working at Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston. She approached the entourage and let someone know that Rebecca was in the ICU.
When he was told that she was upstairs, Dr. Murthy, who remembered Rebecca well, walked over to her parents with some comforting words and promised to come back after his meeting. He was true to his word. He visited her in the ICU, examined her scans and looked over the medications she was receiving. He spent some time talking to her parents and asked them to contact him if there was anything he could do for her.
Despite his busy schedule and awesome responsibilities as Surgeon General, he took the time to examine Rebecca and console her parents.
I will never forget his visit to the hospital. Thank you, Dr. Murthy. Telling this story still brings tears to my eyes. You taught us all what compassion looks like.