My son Vincent, a beautiful little boy and our first child, is alive today because of Monica Pearl, M.D., at Children’s National Hospital.
One day last winter, we noticed Vincent was lethargic, pale and cool to the touch. We rushed him to Children’s National. Doctors in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) delivered devastating news: Our baby had suffered a ruptured aneurysm of his middle cerebral artery. This caused a series of strokes and bleeding in the right side of his brain.
As we awaited news of his prognosis, we got a phone call. It was from Dr. Pearl, director of the Neurointerventional Radiology Program. “I am on my way to help,” she said and she stayed on the line with us as she drove to the hospital from Baltimore. She explained the complex medical procedure she planned to attempt. She also explained the anatomy of the brain and blood vessels involved in the operation and potential outcomes. It was difficult to take it all in, but her demeanor reassured us.
We waited for hours as Dr. Pearl operated on Vincent. Then we learned that she had embolized the artery to stop the bleeding. He would live. A neurologist we met that day told us that there are very few doctors in the world who would have attempted this procedure on a baby Vincent’s size. He weighed less than 6 pounds. If we lived anywhere else, or if Dr. Pearl had not been available, our son would likely have died that day.
Dr. Pearl has impeccable talent, intelligence and eloquence. But there’s something else that makes her such an incredible doctor: how deeply she cares for her patients and their families. For months she called us every Wednesday to check on Vincent and us. She calls us family now and we think of her as the same. Dr. Pearl gave us a miracle: the life of our son. She allowed us to remain a family. There are no words that can fully express our gratitude towards her. We will remain indebted to her for the rest of our lives.
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