[SIREN] JONATHAN BAR: I was 16 the first time I did CPR. It was a tiny room, and the patient's family was listening on the other side of the door. And I remember the patient's steely blue eyes. That's something they don't teach you about in CPR class. Plastic mannequins can't look back at you.
If there was time to walk away from medicine, that would have been it.
I grew up in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, just outside of New York City. I'm the oldest of three siblings. And, from a young age, our parents taught us to work hard but, most importantly, to always take care of each other, no matter what.
At six, I started taekwondo with Master Gary Stevens. I was hooked for the next decade, It was Master Stevens who taught me honor, discipline, courage, and respect. He told me to keep calm under pressure and that absolutely anything was possible.
The words "I can't" simply meant "I don't know how. Please teach me."
When I was ready for my black belt, I was required to get trained in first aid and CPR. It was my first taste of medicine. As I toyed with the idea of medicine as a career, my mom insisted that I join the ambulance corps. She figured I'd come crying back in a week or two. Well, little did she know, she helped me find my calling.
I went to college at Cornell University, with the intent of going into medicine. I worked my way through school, as both an RA and a wilderness instructor. I also stayed heavily involved in EMS, eventually becoming the director of operations. It was in that position, with two cell phones and radios strapped to my belt, that I began to ask myself, what if I could be doing more for my patients?
I wanted to achieve clinical mastery. I wanted to be at the cutting edge, and I wanted to be in a place where I could train with patients from every walk of life. At Weill Cornell, I saw the opportunity to do just that.
The scholarship I received made continuing my Cornell education surprisingly affordable, even more so than attending some of the state schools I applied to.
SPEAKER 1: So this is the X-ray that we're following up from our trauma patient, earlier.
JONATHAN BAR: Mhm?
SPEAKER 1: What do you think?
JONATHAN BAR: Looks like it's a pelvic fracture.
I'm ever so grateful for my scholarship donors. Their generosity has significantly eased the burden of attending medical school and thus has allowed me to focus on my studies, to achieve my personal goals, and, most importantly, to really take better care of my patients. After nearly a decade of training, I'm finally becoming an emergency medicine physician.
To me, the ER is the great equalizer. No matter where you're born, where you're from, how much money you have, or what you believe, everyone ultimately ends up in the ER. Everyone will have a crisis, at some point in their life, and I want to be the one who does something about it.
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As a teenager, Jonathan Bar was required to learn first aid and CPR as a condition of earning his black belt in tae kwon do. That training set him on the path to his calling as an emergency medicine physician.