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When Breath Becomes Air

Barbara doesn't remember anything about her accident on March 28th, 2017.  "I was walking my dog near the train tracks in Martinez and am told I was hit by an oncoming train," says Barbara.  She was rushed to John Muir Health's Trauma Center and remained in Neuro ICU for nearly three months. Daughter, Christine, was by her side every day and never lost hope that the team at JMH would save her mother's life. "In many ways, mom's survival is an absolute miracle," says Christine. "But miracle or not, mom wouldn't be here today had she not had the very, very best care in the universe at John Muir Health. Dr.'s Oana Spataru and Moussa Yazbeck and the outstanding staff in the Neuro ICU are the reason mom is thriving and living on her own one year later."

Barbara takes joy in many of the things she took for granted before the accident. "I truly believe that my accident has provided me with my greatest joys," say Barbara. "I know that seems odd, but the accident made me appreciate more than ever the importance of family, love, and 'all the little things.'"  Barbara was able to attend Christine's wedding and the birth of her second grandchild this past Fall. Searching for some solace and deeper understanding of her journey, Barbara says she read the book, "When Breath Becomes Air."  The book, she says, helped her realize the paradox between living and dying, and in the end, what makes life meaningful. 

"My mother survived because of John Muir Health," says Christine.  "We feel a tremendous amount of gratitude to Dr. Spataru and Dr. Yazbeck, the amazing nursing team, the Acute Rehabilitation Services, and everyone we met at John Muir Health along the way."


Barbara and daughter, Christine, at Christine's wedding.

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