The art of emergency medicine

The talented violinist was preparing to audition for orchestras and embark on a classical music career when another type of art caught his eye. During his experience as an interpreter, he witnessed a baby being born.

“I remember I was interpreting, the lights were down in the room, it was the early shift so the sun was a nice orange glow lighting up the whole room, and everything was going well,” Gil said. “All of sudden you just hear this cry. It was like art. Watching life come into the world was amazing.”

Gil, who was born and raised in Colombia, made his way to the Brody School of Medicine from there, after selecting the school based on its small class size and its community focus. After realizing he was on the path of his purpose, he began to immerse himself in service and making a difference in others’ lives.

“I never pictured myself as a student doctor in eastern North Carolina,” he said. “It was just never on my radar.”

Gil has flourished, becoming close with his classmates and being inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, a community of medical students, physicians, and other leaders who have been selected by their peers for their compassionate care. Gil was surprised to be named to the group but wants to continue on the path that earned him the recognition.

“The people I get to share that honor with are all beautiful human beings,” he said. “I like having that in my wheelhouse for others to know that this is an opportunity to highlight your career.”

Gil matched in emergency medicine at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. When he opened his Match Day envelope, tears filled his eyes and he couldn’t speak. A tight circle of family members teared up as well, cheering when he was able to reveal his next stop.

“Charlotte?!” a colleague passing by exclaimed.

“Yes, yes!” Gil nodded, overcome by a fresh burst of tears.

Emergency medicine felt like the right fit for Gil, who has learned to temper his expectations as he went through medical school, hoping for the best but understanding that contingency plans are important to have in place. The specialty also drew him in because of his overwhelming passion for helping people and healing patients who seek him out for assistance.

“Anyone who comes through those doors is not at a great point in their life,” he said, “whether they have pain, addiction, substance abuse, a car accident or things aren’t great at home. These people humble themselves enough to come and seek our help. Knowing that I have an opportunity to somehow have an impact on their lives moves me to a degree that I really can’t describe.”

As Gil prepares to leave Greenville and head west for the next chapter in his story, he hopes that what he’s learned at Brody will help add vitality to his patients’ stories as well.

“An opportunity to give someone grace, to restore their dignity, is so important to me,” he said. “It makes all the scary things about emergency medicine go away. That moment gives you an impetus to work harder to restore this person, so when they leave, they can go back to their life and complete their narrative.”