A Traumatized Brain That Helped Heal a Broken Heart


I knew it would be bad; the only question was how bad.

After waiting outside a surgical ward at Jersey City Medical Center for what seemed like an eternity, the neurosurgeon emerged, introduced herself and explained that blood clots were forming in my husband’s brain, a result of multiple fractures to his skull. Even after an extensive operation, internal swelling and pressure on his brain were building to levels “inconsistent with life,” the doctor explained. To survive the night, he needed another operation.

Less than 24 hours earlier, on Dec. 13, 2014, Steve — my husband and the father of our two young children — left our Brooklyn apartment for a networking trip in Atlantic City with four colleagues. Throughout the day, he sent me text updates, including a goofy selfie intended to amuse our daughter, then 3 years old.

Around 6 a.m., I received a call from two of the colleagues who had been with him in Atlantic City. Steve had been in an accident, they said, and I should call the emergency room. They had been with him all day, but couldn’t explain what happened to him. To read more from AMBER CARLIN MISHKIN, click here.