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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Emory faculty members: Don't leave home without one

OK, so I’m driving back home from the Atlanta airport last Sunday with Art Kellermann 80M, associate dean for health policy and professor of emergency medicine (shown at right, from Faculty Destinations: Athens in 2008). We were returning from a day trip to Orlando where he spoke about health reform to 140 Emory alumni and other guests in the auditorium at the Orlando Museum of Art as part of the EAA’s Faculty Destinations speaker series.

Our flight had been significantly delayed due to bad weather in Atlanta, but we didn’t realize how bad it was until… we’re driving along at about 11:00 p.m. and took a shortcut near the Emory area to get Art home. All of a sudden, I came to a screeching halt when we realized the street was completely blocked by a huge tree.

That part was OK. What wasn’t OK was the fact that there were two cars under the tree and no cones or police tape indicating any emergency crews had been by to investigate. Art, being the excellent Grady emergency medicine doctor that he is, jumped into action.

His concern was that there could be people trapped in the cars and, for all we knew, the tree could have fallen right before we pulled up the street. He asked me to stay back for fear of fallen electrical lines, and he got right under the tree, using the light of his cell phone, to see if there were any people or bodies in either car. It was hard to get a clear look in the pitch black with all the branches covering the vehicles, but he felt pretty sure the cars were empty.

He called 911 and no one came. He called a second time and still there were no sirens.

Finally, some neighbors came out of a nearby apartment and reported there had indeed been people in one of the cars when the tree fell. The other car was parked. The people had miraculously gotten out safely and, when no emergency vehicles showed up, left the scene. We finally left the scene ourselves and drove very cautiously the rest of the way home. There were several other streets that were closed off due to fallen trees, but we finally made it to our homes. What a night!

On a less dramatic note, the event in Orlando was terrific. Our volunteer extraordinaire, Kenneth Murrah 55C 58L and his wife Ann did some heavy marketing for the event and were truly responsible for the great attendance. Dr. Kellermann’s topic of health reform was timely and a very big draw. For more information about faculty programming at the EAA, click here. To download our Faculty Programs brochure, click here.

--Leslie Wingate 82C, senior director, alumni programs, EAA

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