It’s not unusual for a proud mom to call our office with the following request: “My son appeared in a photo in your magazine and I’m wondering how I can get a copy?”
This time, however, it was definitely unusual. The mom was calling from Syosset, N.Y.
“Hm,” I said. “There must be some mistake….” I launched into my spiel about the local focus of Raising Arizona Kids and the pride we take in exclusively running original stories by local writers that are illustrated by photos of local kids and families.
She listened politely, then just as politely protested. “Oh, but he is in your magazine,” she said. “His name is Rustin Morse and he was in a picture at the emergency department at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.”
I was still confused. In February, we published a directory of Valley emergency departments, trauma centers and urgent care clinics. I didn’t remember a picture of a little boy, and certainly not one from New York.
“His name is Rustin Morse,” she said. “Dr. Rustin Morse.”
Finally the cobwebs cleared. Her son was the emergency physician who just happened to be at the hospital the day staff photographer Dan Friedman ventured that way to shoot cover art for our directory. It was one of those golden shoots, Dan told me later. The kind where you go, not quite sure what you’re going to find, and all the stars align.
Dan always wants the shot where something is happening. As luck would have it, 10-year-old Taylor Mariscal of Eager had a snow tubing accident that day. Taylor had undergone cleft palate surgery at Phoenix Children’s when she was a baby, so that was where her worried mom, Tommi, went to seek care for her daughter’s injury. Even though it meant a four-hour drive to Phoenix.
Morse just happened to be on duty that day, so he ended up in the photo shoot, too. And in one brief moment he managed to ease the mind of Taylor’s mom while doing one more thing to make his own mom proud.
I asked Marsha Morse if her son had always known he wanted to be a doctor. She said that he’d always shown a proclivity for math and numbers but it wasn’t until the summer after his first year in college, when he did some volunteer work with the ambulance corps attached to the fire department, that the idea of a career in medicine began to dawn.
“He decided he wanted to become an ER doctor,” she says.
“Why pediatrics?” I asked.
Apparently, the day before the very last day he could submit his residency preference, he realized that much as he loved emergency medicine, he loved working with kids more. So he spent his residency training at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh and a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Children’s Memorial Hospital at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago.
I was happy to send Marsha some copies of the magazine in which her son’s picture appeared. When she emailed me to say thanks, I had to smile.
Her email address is BABYDOXMOM.