At 18, Marcus Engel was severely injured in a car accident. When the doctors told him he would never see again his immediate reaction was anger. After the anger subsided he was simply left with the question: “Why?”
In an attempt to answer that question Engel shares his story with healthcare professionals, students, and corporations worldwide. He also authored three books that give the patient’s perspective of nearly 350 hours on operating tables and two years of medical recovery.
On February 1, 2013, Engel shared his message “The Other End of a Stethoscope” at the annual nursing convocation.
Many eyes glistened as Engel spoke. While he does not remember much about the night of the accident, there is one thing he’ll never forget.
“In a world filled with pain, darkness, and terror a patient care technician named Jennifer held my hand and said ‘I’m here.’ I knew I wasn’t alone. That simple human presence was what I needed so much in that moment of vulnerability.”
A small act of kindness made all the difference and he encouraged students to remember the power of compassion as they enter the healthcare field.
“One way I can help carry on the compassion that Jennifer gave me is to pass it on to you.”
For many, the message carried special weight after reading Engel’s books, one of which is used in the nursing curriculum.
“When I read his book I couldn’t put it down,” said Carolyn Ramsey, professor in the Department of Nursing. “I thought about my career as a nurse and asked myself if I made the impression on my patients that he recalled of his nurses.”
As Engel wrapped up, he asked the audience if they got anything out of his talk. When the audience responded “yes,” he said: “If you did then thank you for helping me find an answer to the question ‘Why?’”
-by Sarah Crowder