Lessons from the Thin Blue Line: Looking for a Miracle


Before I started my career in health care, I worked as a police officer in the Los Angeles area. My time patrolling the streets provided countless skills and lessons that have helped to inform my life ever since.

Some of those experiences translate directly to my role running a large organization. Over the years, I’ve shared some of them with my staff, and I’ve found that telling those stories can help emphasize how much I care about each person who is part of my organization.

Here is one of those stories that really drives home the point.

While working as a police officer, I responded one day to an emergency assistance call at a residence. I arrived to find a sad, tragic scene.

A 5-year-old boy was lying on the pavement in terrible shape and struggling to breathe. His mother had backed her car out of the driveway and accidentally hit him. The tire of her car had rolled over the boy’s head.

Horrified at what she had done, the mother was screaming and crying.

I took one look at the boy and knew he wasn’t going to make it. I knelt over him and used my fingers to clear his airway, hoping that would help him take in more air.

Nearby, a neighbor wrapped her arms around the mother and tried to comfort her. “Don’t worry,” the neighbor said. “The policeman knows what to do. He’s going to save your child’s life.”

I knew the neighbor was wrong. I didn’t have superhuman powers. I knew how hopeless the situation was and that nothing I could do would change the outcome. Still, I couldn’t bear the thought of the boy dying in front of his mother. So I kept working on him until paramedics arrived.

The boy died the next day at a children’s hospital.

While I was working on the boy in the driveway, his mother and her neighbor were looking to me to work a miracle and save a life.

At Scripps, many of our patients and their family members look to our doctors, nurses and other staff members to do the same thing every day. It can be a difficult job, but they constantly strive to do their best by offering comfort, hope and compassion alongside the medical care they are trained to deliver.

I was doing the same thing all of those years ago as a responding police officer on that driveway.

I share these kinds of experiences in the hope that they help show everyone here at Scripps that my commitment to the organization, to them and to our patients runs deep. I think this kind of sharing brings people closer together.

It helps me convey that what I do is not just from my head, but also from my heart.