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MSIH Alumnus Saves Victims of Gun Violence

MSIH Alumnus Saves Victims of Gun Violence

November 1, 2017

Leadership, Awards & Events

Dr. Joseph Sakran is a graduate of BGU’s Medical School for International Health (MSIH). He is now a trauma surgeon and director of emergency general surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

People – MSIH alumnus Dr. Joseph Sakran was 17 and celebrating his high school football team’s first game of the 1994 season when he found himself on the ground choking on his own blood.

Dr. Joseph Sakran

At a park in Burke, Virginia, a gang member fired shots into the crowd – hitting him in the throat. He remembers flashes of gunfire, his blood-soaked white T-shirt and people fleeing before he was rushed by ambulance to the hospital.

“I felt like it was in slow motion,” says Dr. Sakran, now 40. “I could tell that there was something wrong, but I didn’t know 100 percent what that thing was.”

The .38-caliber bullet severed an artery in his neck, paralyzed a vocal chord and ruptured his trachea. During his lengthy recovery – and multiple surgeries, including a tracheotomy so he could speak and breathe – Sakran resolved that he would do something important with his life.

“After this happened, I kept saying to myself, ‘God has given me this second chance,’” he says. “I knew I didn’t want to waste it.”

And he didn’t. He decided to enroll in BGU’s Medical School for International Health in Beer-Sheva, a unique medical school that incorporates global health components into all four years of the M.D. curriculum, to prepare for a career that would enable him to save people’s lives.

Now a trauma surgeon and director of emergency general surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Dr. Sakran saves the lives of hundreds of gunshot victims.

Through his work at Johns Hopkins, and using data culled from the Maryland medical examiner, Dr. Sakran also plans to study why gun injuries have become more lethal as, he observes, shooters increasingly aim to kill and choose weapons that do the most damage to their victims.

On a plate on his desk at home, Dr. Sakran says he keeps the bullet that pierced his neck 23 years ago.

“I’ll look at it and I’ll think, ‘This nearly ended my life,’ ” he says. “But now, this has been the inspiration for what I do.”

Read the full story on the People website >>