When a college student suffered a grievous medical injury, an ambulance rushed him to hospital, where doctors worked tirelessly to save his life. Nine years later, he returned to that very same hospital – but this time, he wasn’t going as a patient.
Back in 2007, Kevin Morton was just like any typical college student. Struggling to pay the rent alongside the costs of tuition, he was juggling his studies with a job at an Arby’s in Detroit, Michigan, where he worked as a manager.
And July 9, 2007, must have initially seemed like any other night. The last one in the restaurant as usual, 22-year-old Morton locked up and headed out to his car. But things were about to take a dramatic turn.
As he climbed into his car, an unknown figure approached out of the darkness. And with a blinding flash and a loud bang, the assailant opened fire on Morton through the window of his vehicle before robbing him and fleeing. The bullet pierced Morton’s abdomen. But he didn’t immediately lose consciousness.
Dazed and confused, Morton decided that the hospital was probably too far away for him to attempt to drive. Instead, he started his car and attempted to drive to a nearby police station, which he had become familiar with thanks to police officers frequenting his restaurant.
Before he could get there, however, he finally passed out while behind the wheel – and his car veered off the side of the road. But just when all hope seemed lost, a passer-by stumbled upon the vehicle. It seemed Morton’s luck was about to change – if he could get to the hospital in time.
Naturally, the person who discovered Morton in his car wasted no time in dialing 911. And soon an ambulance arrived in order to whisk him to St. John hospital. During the ride, he even woke up for a few seconds.
After passing out again, Morton came round for a second time – this time regaining consciousness on the operating table while doctors prepared to save his life. Surgeon Dr. Dharti Sheth was working the trauma center that night and was amazed at the fact that Morton was awake.
Morton’s abdomen wound was a great cause for concern for Sheth and her team. Indeed, he had been shot in one of the body’s most vulnerable parts. Thankfully, however, the bullet had missed his vital organs.
Nevertheless, Morton’s chances of survival beyond 24 hours were put at a meager 10 percent. While his vital organs remained intact, his intestines and pancreas had suffered significant damage, with half of the latter being completely destroyed.
As Sheth began to treat Morton’s injuries, his family prepared themselves for the outcome. Indeed, his father, stepmom and sisters could only helplessly wait while Sheth worked furiously to save Morton’s life, doing everything in her power to give the young man a second chance.
Miraculously, Morton ended up making it through the night. Despite his injuries, he surpassed the 24-hour timeframe the doctors had given him so little chance of surviving. But the aftermath wasn’t pretty. Indeed, Morton had to spend the next 12 months being fed using an intravenous drip as a result of his digestive system being damaged.
Still, Morton was at least on the road to recovery after what could have been a fatal incident. Before the shooting, he had been studying biochemistry at Oakland University in Michigan. And the experience “relit the fire and love for medicine,” Morton told CNN in 2016.
He had originally been on a pre-medical course with a view to working in a pharmacy, following in the footsteps of his stepmom. But he had been struggling to pay the rent and had needed to sacrifice his studies to work extra hours at Arby’s. Juggling both had become too stressful, and his grades had suffered as a result.
After the attack, however, Morton found himself inspired by Dr. Sheth, with whom he kept in close contact following his surgery. And so, with a renewed focus, he applied to medical school at Michigan State University. And of course, when he got in, Sheth was one of the first people he called.
Morton finally graduated from the College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2016. Sheth even attended his graduation ceremony. “He has all the qualities of a good doctor,” she told CNN. “He has the intellect, the personality, good eye contact and is very pleasant and easy to talk to. He’s very positive.”
After graduation, Morton’s first medical residency began. And where else would have been more appropriate than the very hospital he’d been treated in, nine years before? So Morton joined the surgery team at St. John hospital.
“It was weird walking down those corridors again,” he told CNN. “They gave me an uneasy feeling.” And while his memories of St. John may not be the greatest, he’s been able to use them to his advantage. “From going through that experience, I feel like I can connect more with my patients,” he explained.
Married father-of-one Morton says he’s fulfilled by his new career path. Indeed, he told People that he simply wanted to “pay it forward,” referring to the help he’d been given by Sheth.
He might have first entered St. John hospital covered in blood and fighting for his life, but nowadays, Kevin Morton walks on to the ward dressed in scrubs. Indeed, his amazing journey is inspiring for all the right reasons.